The remarks on ‘narcotic jihad’ made by Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangattu appear to have stirred up the otherwise sleepy town of Pala with rallies over the last two days.
On Friday over 200 workers of Muslim organisations, under the aegis of the Muslim Aikya Vedi, staged a march to the Bishop’s House in Pala seeking action against the prelate. This was followed by another round of protest by 35 People’s Democratic Party activists. The protesters were prevented from entering the Bishop’s House by the police, who also booked cases for violation of the COVID-19 protocol.
These protests appear to have triggered an unprecedented mobilisation of Christian groups with various organisations, supported by a section of politicians, taking out a march in support of the bishop here on Saturday. Kerala Janapaksham chairman P.C. George inaugurated the rally.
The Syro-Malabar diocese of Pala has now come up with a clarification that the bishop was only pointing out some alarming trends in society. In a statement, Mar Jacob Murickan, the auxiliary bishop of Pala, called for an end to the misleading campaigns over the issue.
“His remarks were not against any particular community. The Bishop was indeed espousing that all religions and communities have to take serious note on attempts by a minority section to use religious symbols and banner for religious extremism and antisocial activities by outsmarting the true believers and the spiritual leaders, who are the majority in their respective religions,” he said.