Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangatt who heads the Pala Diocese of Syro-Malabar Church recently remarked while addressing the laity on the occasion of the Eighth Day of Lent of Mary at a church in Kuravilangad in Kottayam district in Kerala that ‘narcotic Jihad’ and ‘love Jihad’ were being employed by Jihadis to entice and forcefully convert young men and women of Christian and other non-Muslim faiths to Islam. To add to the numbers of Jihadis willing to operate in terror-fields of Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Libya. 

To substantiate his claims he quoted examples of Nimisha and Sonia Sebastian, who had converted from Hinduism and Christianity respectively to marry Muslim men to later end up in ISIS-controlled Afghanistan to fight for the terror group.

All hell broke loose in Kerala where Pala is located and from where the Bishop functioned. The Bishop’s candid remarks, rather his concerns set the cat he had belled among the pigeons.

Indian Muslims, who constitute a religious minority, have always been appeased and cooped up inside a glass enclosure constructed meticulously by politicians of all hues, shapes and sizes. For they comprise a huge vote-bank.

Politicians wouldn’t risk ruffling the feathers of this well-nourished and fattened community for fear of losing their favor, come the voting day! The Pala Bishop heading the diocese, which is home to the largest concentration of Syro-Malabar Christians in Kerala, had clearly cracked that hallowed glass enclosure by voicing his genuine concerns.

He had crossed the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ by accusing this carefully nurtured and pampered religious minority community, (which to the wily politician meant a huge vote bank), of converting people of other faiths to swell the ranks of Jihadis out to frolic in terror to further their skewed agenda.

Political parties in Kerala smelt blood. Each one danced to the tune of their ideology, policy and compulsions.  Congressmen were aghast at the Bishop’s seeming mischief in taking down the glass enclosure which had held their traditional vote-bank for years. The Bishop’s concerns added fuel to the BJP’s favored theory of minority appeasement that had been a thorn in the flesh of India’s Hindu majority. The latter saw red in Kerala’s ruling leftist government’s glaring reluctance to get to the bottom of the bishop’s concerns. Kerala resembled a China shop invaded by a bull on a rampage!

One can easily brush under the carpet the drama of political harangue that was staged in Kerala and ‘shedding a crocodile tear’ act for a slighted minority, which was also a substantial vote-bank, as typical politicians’ typical opportune mechanization.

But, are there more to the Bishop’s concerns than meets the eye?

Many suspected the Bishop’s intentions behind grave charges he leveled. The Pala Diocese, presided by the same Bishop had only recently embarked on a grandiose plan to increase the numbers of Christians in Kerala by encouraging the laity to increase the size of their families by producing more children, running askance to the National Population Control policies. The diocese dangled numerous carrots before the laity to have them fall in line.

The Head Bishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy only recently issued a circular that provided sops to couples belonging to the denomination having four or five children; such as, monthly financial aid of Rs. 1,500, preference for employment for each couple in Mar Sleeva Medicity, a hospital run by the Pala Diocese, free delivery care from admission to discharge in the dioceses’ hospitals to women who deliver their fourth child onwards, free education at the mar Sleeva Nursing College to the fourth and younger children , waiver of tuition fee for fourth and subsequent children who secure admission to the Dioceses’ St. Joseph’s College of Engineering and Technology and College of Hotel management, and free education in the dioceses’ educational institutions for fourth and subsequent children born into poor families of the Church.

This seemingly suspicious move by the Pala Diocese cast a long shadow on the Bishop who leveled the charges of ‘Narcotic Jihad’ and ‘love jihad’.

Irrespective of the dust thrown up by the bishop’s concerns, and ‘shedding the crocodile tear’ act by various opportune political parties dictated by their respective dark intentions, and loss of face the Bishop’s concerns had caused the Muslim community, the twin charges of ‘Narcotic Jihad’ and ‘Love jihad’ must be investigated into without fear, favor or consideration whatsoever by the political alliance governing Kerala at the moment.

For the Bishop’s concerns lies in the court of the Kerala government, which must get to the bottom of the charges made by the bishop, unearth them and uproot them if present and burn them at the stakes of political will.

India, as a nation simply cannot afford to lease her soil to sow the seeds of religious fundamentalism, indoctrination and ultimately terror. The nation, now 74 years old cannot afford the same, as it has eaten of the fruit of such a crop, starting from Partition, through numerous terrorists attacks she has had to go through paying with numerous innocent lives.

India cannot afford to have another 26/11 enacted on her soil.    


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