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CPM Rajya Sabha member warns Christians against 'wolves'

John Brittas urges the community to stave off the 'flames of hatred and animosity'
John Brittas.
John Brittas.
File photo

K.M. Rakesh   |   Bangalore   |   Published 25.04.22, 03:34 AM

CPM Rajya Sabha member John Brittas has cautioned Christians in Kerala against “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and urged them to stave off the “flames of hatred and animosity”, moments after a Union minister from the BJP had sought to spook the community with the spectre of “Islamic terrorism” from the same stage.

The BJP has for long been trying to garner the support of Christians to gain a toehold in Kerala, which has steadfastly rejected the party in successive elections but where sections have gradually been warming up to the Right-wing ideology.


Speaking at the inauguration of the new head of the Thalassery archdiocese in Kannur district, Archbishop Joseph Pamplany, on April 20, Brittas said: “I have to tell you to be cautious about the wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

“We should never allow the flames of hatred and animosity from north India to enter this place,” Brittas said.

“We do, or we must, have the determination to resist such thoughts, whoever might say so from this dais,” the journalist turned Rajya Sabha member said.

“Neither we nor our bishops can move forward forgetting the martyr named Stan Swamy,” Brittas said, reminding the clergy and the laity about the 84-year-old and ailing Jesuit priest who died waiting for bail last year in connection with the Elgaar Parishad-Maoist links case.

Brittas urged Christians to resist hatred and animosity.

“Kerala has taught the world how to build resistance to stop the flood of hatred and animosity. The leaders of the Church are trying to nourish that goodness, or at least that is their responsibility.”

At the same stage from where Brittas issued the warning, minister of state for external affairs and parliamentary affairs V. Muraleedharan had moments earlier sought to alert Christians to the perceived threats posed by Islamic extremism around the world.

The BJP leader suggested that Christians were justified in their “apprehensions” about Islamic terrorism.

“The losses suffered by the Christian community in modern times is not small. Starting from Syria and Iraq, and to our neighbouring countries, there have been innumerable incidents of suicide attacks on Christian brothers. It was in 2019 that terrorists killed Christian brothers in our neighbouring country, Sri Lanka, on Easter Day. So, no one can find fault with the Christian leadership having apprehensions about Islamic terrorism,” Muraleedharan said.

“I came across the concerns shared by Archbishop Pamplany through the media…. The Narendra Modi government views the concerns of the Christian community with the same seriousness,” the minister said.

Days before taking over as bishop, Pamplany had shared concerns about growing instances of interfaith marriages.

Muraleedharan took a dig at the LDF government that had booked a bishop who had last year spoken about “love jihad” and “narcotic jihad” as the weapons purportedly unleashed by the Muslim Right wing against Christians. “Even revered bishops can get booked for using the word ‘jihad’. So it’s definitely a matter of concern,” he said.

Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangatt of the Pala Diocese had sparked an uproar in Kerala by directly accusing the Muslim Right wing of trying to destroy members of other communities through “love jihad and narcotic jihad”.

“Shouldn’t those responsible investigate and find a solution when the community, that has made great contributions to Kerala’s health care and education, expresses such a concern? The question that rose in my mind is why the government is hesitating in taking action based on the Church’s concerns in spite of such a lot of evidence available?” Muraleedharan said.

The minister could not be reached for further elaborations on his comments.

Brittas told The Telegraph the BJP was trying to sow the seeds of discord in Kerala. “They have a feeling that they can chip away a bit of the Christian community of Kerala since the majority of the Hindu community are with the CPM and the Congress and the Muslims would never go with them (the BJP),” he noted.

“It is with such a game plan they have created this ‘love jihad’ narrative which was on full display even at the event where the Archbishop was taking over,” Brittas said.

“They first tried to divide the community by using the Sabarimala issue. When that failed, they are moving on to divide Christians,” he said. The BJP had launched a campaign after the Kerala government had decided to implement a Supreme Court order in 2018 that lifted all age barriers on women’s entry to the temple where, until then, those of childbearing age were not allowed.

“There is a serious effort to create a wedge between Christians and Muslims with the sole aim of wooing Christians. That is their new script in Kerala,” Brittas added.

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