The Catholic church in Kerala has temporarily removed a parish priest from his duties after he joined the BJP in Idukki district.
Fr Kuriakose Mattam, parish priest of St Thomas Church in Mankuva, a village in Idukki, had on Monday joined the saffron party.
The Syro-Malabar church to which he belongs has announced that the priest was being temporarily removed from his position as the vicar of the church.
The priest who is nearing 75 is set to retire in about four months when he took the political plunge by joining the party with little presence in Kerala.
Soon after accepting the primary membership of the BJP, the clergyman said he did not consider the party as unfit to be part of.
“I don’t see the BJP as a party unfit to be a part of. I am here since I have friendly relationships with several BJP people. But I have never been a member of
any party so far,” he is heard saying in a video clip posted on Facebook by Idukki district BJP president K.S. Aji.
The entry of a Catholic priest in the BJP comes at a time even a small section of the community that flirted with the saffron party has begun criticising it following the violence in Manipur and attacks on Christians elsewhere.
An archbishop who had offered a Lok Sabha seat to the BJP in exchange for higher rubber prices has of late become the loudest critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Just months after making the offer to the BJP that has never won a Lok Sabha seat from Kerala, Archbishop Mar Joseph Pamplany of the Archdiocese of Thalassery had termed the violence in Manipur “ethnic cleansing” and slammed Modi for travelling to the United States and addressing the American Congress when the northeastern state was burning.
The archbishop had in September, soon after the G20 summit in Delhi, urged
Modi to embrace the people of Manipur just the way he hugged world leaders
such as US President Joe Biden.