Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Vilasrao Deshmukh has called for defeating the forces that are attempting to destabilise the nation in the name of religion.

He was speaking after inaugurating an ecumenical conference organised as part of the triennial assembly 2010 of the Kerala Council of Churches at Kottarakara, near here, on Friday.

Mr. Deshmukh said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre was committed to providing protection to all sections of society. The government at the Centre believed in secularism, socialism and welfare of the poor. He called for a joint fight by likeminded organisations against evils in society.

Mr. Deshmukh, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, said a section of people in Maharashtra was opposed to people from other States living and working there. However, this was a politically motivated stand and not the stand of the people of Maharashtra. Such politically motivated actions should not be given importance.

He said today we live in a world of darkness, revolts, disturbances and mutual distrust. But we should be determined to make tomorrow a better day. The call for peace and goodwill in the context of Christian charity was not a mere ritual but the lifebuoy that we cling to while in desperation, he said.

Delivering the keynote address, Minister for Agriculture Mullakkara Ratnakaran stressed the need to strengthen family ties to ensure that youth were not led astray. It is youngsters from families with weak and unstable ties who often go astray. Women have a very important role to play at the family level and that can be attained “by strengthening the kitchen,” he said.

KCC president Abraham Mar Paulose presided. Mar Thoma Metropolitan Philipose Mar Chrysostom delivered the benedictory address. The KCC is an association of 13 Christian sects in Kerala. KCC secretary Philip N. Thomas welcomed the gathering and general convener of the event Jacob John proposed the vote of thanks.