Kerala

Congress launches peace mission in Pala

Stewing over a perceived improvement in ties between the Catholic Church and the Bharatiya Janata Party in central Travancore subsequent to the narcotic jihad controversy, the Congress leadership has now reached out to various religious groups, including the Syro-Malabar Church, with an intention to broker peace.

The delegation, comprising Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president K.Sudhakaran and Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan, kick-started the mission by visiting Metropolitan Archbishop Mar Joseph Perumthottam at Changanassery on Thursday morning. In the afternoon, Mr.Sudhakaran also met Mar Joseph Kallarangatt at the bishop’s house in Pala and Shamsuddeen Mannani Ilavupalam, Imam of the Thazhathangadi Juma Masjid.

Meanwhile, Mr. Satheesan also held a meeting with the bishop of the CSI Central Kerala diocese Malayil Sabu Koshi Cheriyan in Kottayam.

Speaking to mediapersons later, Mr.Sudhakaran highlighted the need for upholding the values of secularism. “The KPCC is now taking the lead to find out an amicable settlement to the narcotic jihad issue. Despite being asked a couple of times, the government has refused act on this issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, the absence of Mr.Satheesan during the visit to Pala ignited rumours about Church registering its annoyance over his initial criticism of the bishop. They, however, sought to dismiss it and said the Opposition Leader stayed in Kottayam to attend a meeting of the UDF district unit.

While the bishop’s remark had initially drawn criticism from the Congress leadership, especially Mr.Satheesan and P.T. Thomas, the party now appears to have realised its folly of ignoring the issue at the first place. Having witnessed the BJP attempting to leverage the issue to its benefit, the Congress now seeks to settle the issue amicably so that it does not further erode its vote base in the region.

Ever since the bishop’s remarks on jihad by way of love and narcotics kicked off a controversy, leaders across the political spectrum have made a beeline to the bishop’s house in Pala and extend their solidarity with Mar Joseph Kallarangatt. The Left Democratic Front, on its part, too has made its presence felt through the Kerala Congress (M), a party regarded as having close ties with the Church.


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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 3:58:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/congress-launches-peace-mission-in-pala/article36499749.ece

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