Responding to a volley of questions from Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of the opposition parties on recent claims of Catholic religious leaders and right-wing groups that there are attempts to lure youth for religious conversion and terrorism using drugs, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reiterated that there are no such findings in the state. The CM, in his written reply in the state Assembly on Monday, October 4, also said that there has been ‚Äú'no discussions in the state aimed to create communal tension between various religious groups.‚ÄĚ The CM also denied the demand of opposition leaders to call a meeting of religious heads and community leaders.
The CM was responding to the queries of Congress MLA Shafi Parambil and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) MLA UA Latheef, among others. MLA Shafi Parambil asked whether the Kerala government has received any intelligence report on youth being lured into terrorism and religious conversion using drugs. Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt of Pala diocese, under the Syro Malabar Catholic Church, had claimed that Christian youth, including women, were falling prey to the "love and narcotic jihad" in Kerala by extremists. To both queries, the CM stated there have neither been such reports nor findings in the state.
To a pointed question of whether the state government had taken note of growing division among various religious communities in the state, the Chief Minister said the government has taken note of certain media reports regarding it and steps have been taken to strengthen the bond between various religions.
The Chief Minister said that Kerala has been a secular society where people belonging to various castes and religions live harmoniously and therefore, the state could strongly resist the concerted efforts by communal forces to divide the society by instigating hatred. Referring to false propaganda being spread through various social media platforms, Pinarayi Vijayan said various branches of the state police, including cyberdome and hi-tech cells, are vigilant and capable of thwarting such attempts.
The CM also added that in the past 10 years, a total of 1,798 people have been booked for attempts to create communal divide through social media.
During a press meet on September 22, the Kerala Chief Minister had pointed out that crimes related to narcotics have no connection to any religion and that there is no factual basis to support it. He had said that 4,941 cases were registered under the NDPS (Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act, in 2020. Among the 5,422 accused in these cases, 2,700 (49.80%) were Hindus, 1,869 were Muslims (34.47%) and 853 (15.73%) were Christians.
(With PTI inputs)