Thiruvananthapuram: Amid the clamor of the opposition over the “love and drug jihad” refusing to settle down, Kerala’s Prime Minister Pinarayi Vijayan finally went on the offensive.
Without referring to Pala Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangatt, who sparked controversy earlier this month by claiming there was “numbing jihad” going on in Kerala, Vijayan attacked attempts to cast a bad light on a particular community.
“There is an increasing tendency to attribute social evils to a particular community. It needs to be nipped in the bud,” said Pinarayi Vijayan on the occasion of the centenary of the Travancore student protest.
“Those who promote social evils are those who indulge in anti-social and illegal activities. That should not be equated with a specific community,” said the Prime Minister.
“It widens the divide in society rather than strengthening unity in the face of such evils,” he said.
Vijayan also relied heavily on attempts to glorify extremist organizations, the conclusion drawn from recent pro-Taliban comments on social media.
“Giving terrorism a good face will also hinder our unity. Some have elevated such organizations to the level of the struggle for freedom. It must be clear that such primitive thoughts only endanger our freedom,” warned Pinarayi.
Quote Guru and King
Vijayan, who went to Facebook earlier in the day to pay tribute to social reformer Sree Narayana Guru, also quoted American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.
“On this day we remember Guru who taught us to think beyond the limitations of caste and religion, and we must commit to opposing those who use caste and religion as a weapon.
“As Martin Luther King said, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do it. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can,'” added Vijayan.
Vijayan had previously stated in a Facebook homage to Guru on the anniversary of the death of the social reformer that Kerala was far from a society without caste and religious discrimination, as the Guru imagined.
“Common thoughts and remnants of the caste system remain shamefully stronger before us. We cannot withdraw from the progress made so far on the humanitarian front, ”wrote Vijayan.
The Prime Minister added that it was high time society “loudly proclaimed” that “no caste or religion is greater than humanity”.
The governor of Kerala, Arif Mohammed Khan, also tweeted a message on the occasion. “My pranams to #SreeNarayanaGuru on his samadhi day. #Guru has put people at the center of all existence and advocated individual self-improvement as the only hope for society and the world, ”the governor tweeted.
CM finds an unlikely ally
In the meantime, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi supported the Pinarayi-led LDF government in the “jihad” series.
Gopi said the government is doing what needs to be done.
The actor-politician responded to media representatives who asked him whether the time for the state government to intervene in the ongoing controversy was up.
“The government goes what has to be done. He (the CM) has to maintain the dignity of his office. Why should he react? He just has to act (take steps),” said Gopi.
His statements are gaining in importance, as criticism of the silence and alleged inaction of the left-wing government and the CM regarding the statement of the bishop has been received from various quarters.
The BJP called on the government to enact a law to review religious conversions in the name of marriages “with the aim of recruiting them for terrorist activities.”
The party’s senior leader and general secretary of state, George Kurian, said the BJP is not against love marriages, but against love relationships for the sake of conversion.
Girls from the state were recruited for terrorism through conversion after feigning love for Afghanistan and Syria, he claimed.
“Love jihad can only be eradicated by strong legislation. Therefore, the state government should introduce a law to check religious conversions in the name of marriages after they have been specifically recruited for terrorist activities,” Kurian said here at a press conference.
Those who say that the term “love jihad” has not been defined should not forget that not even “religion” was declared in the constitution, the leader claimed.
In Kerala, laws similar to those introduced by states like Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh were to be passed to curb the alleged practice of love jihad, and only then would the distance between the religious communities be bridged.
Otherwise, all related discussions are superficial, added the BJP boss.