Even as the ‘Narcotic Jihad’ comment by Pala Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt is creating ripples in Kerala, four nuns from Kuravilangad in Kottayam accused another Christian priest of delivering a hate speech against Muslims. The nuns walked out of the prayer service raising objections. Notably, the nuns are those who had earlier come out in open to protest against rape case accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal. The nuns, addressing the media on Sunday, September 13, accused Rajeev, a priest belonging to the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis of Penance, of delivering a hate speech against Muslims during a prayer service at a chapel inside the St Francis Mission home at Kuravilangad on Sunday.
The nuns are Anupama Kelamangalathuveliyil, Alphy Pallasseril, Ancitta Urumbil and Josephine Viloonickal. The nuns said that the priest had done this earlier too, and asked people not to support the statements of Mar Joseph Kallarangatt on ‘love jihad and narcotic jihad’. Speaking to the media, Sister Anupama said, “The priest during mass today (September 12) made a speech supporting the Pala Bishop, a speech that sowed the seeds for communalism. The priest in the speech said that things like vegetables should not be bought from Muslims and asked the congregation not to travel in the autorickshaws they drive. This is not the first time he has made such remarks. Earlier too, he had made similar remarks about Muslims. Today, we couldn’t help but react and two of us walked out of the mass.”
“What Christ has taught us is to love everyone, to love one’s neighbours and not seed communalism. We reacted as we couldn’t see it when the priest was saying things contradictory to what Christ teaches us,” she added. The nuns had staged an open protest in 2018 in Kochi demanding the arrest of Bishop Franco. The nuns had led a historic protest in support of the survivor nun in the same case. Consequently, Franco was arrested in September 2018 after three days of interrogation.
Bishop Kallarangatt had, while addressing a church gathering on Wednesday, September 9, said that non-Muslims are subjected to ‘Narcotic Jihad’ in the state. He had said that ‘Narcotic Jihad’ involved spoiling the life of non-Muslims, particularly young people, by making them addicted to drugs. The statement of the Bishop, who offered no proof, has led to heated discussions in the state with many opposing the comment. While Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that there was no need for giving religious colour to narcotics and that people holding responsible positions shouldn’t cause religious divisions, Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan condemned the remarks saying that there is no religion, caste or gender for crimes and it was wrong to accuse one particular religion for this.