Kerala

P.C. George raises ‘love jihad’ issue

The discord between legislator P.C. George and the Muslim electorate at Erattupetta, which reached its peak during the recent Assembly elections, continues to simmer even after polling.

The latest episode was played out on Tuesday with Mr.George openly stating that ‘love jihad’ was prevalent at Erattupetta. “There is love jihad at Erattupetta and 47 girls from the region, including 12 Hindu girls, have so far fallen victim to the practice,” he alleged.

He said the recent instances in which girls from Aniyilappu and Teekkoyi (both locations near Erattupetta) went missing were indeed cases of love jihad. “This was what happened in the case of Jesna [Maria James] as well,” Mr. George said.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. George said his statement was never intended to hurt peace-loving Muslims in the region.

The statement takes a cue from his controversial speech at Thodupuzha earlier this week when he abruptly raised the love jihad issue. The speech drew sharp reactions from various quarters and invited a police complaint, but Mr.George stood his ground.

Observers, however, regard his latest remarks as a continuation of his widening discord with the Muslim electorate since the Parliament elections of 2019. The legislator has been accused of engaging in anti-Muslim rhetoric with an eye on Hindu and Christian votes.

Besieged by protests, Mr. George issued apologies for his controversial remarks on a couple of occasions. The opposition to him at Erattupetta — a Muslim majority region within the Poonjar constituency limits — however, grew stronger and touched a boiling point when a group of people heckled him during a recent election campaign.

Despite an evident consolidation of Muslim votes against him, Mr. George held a victory celebration immediately after polling on April 6. Addressing mediapersons later, he confirmed receipt of a tacit support from the Bharatiya Janata Party despite denials by the party leadership, which also triggered accusations of vote trading against him.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 3:53:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/pc-george-raises-love-jihad-issue/article34313679.ece

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