In a strange incident, the members of a Church choir in Kerala dressed up in Muslim attire, with girls wearing headscarves and boys in skull caps to express their solidarity with the anti-CAA movement in the country.
This bizarre protest comes at a time when Citizenship Amendment Act gives citizenship to persecuted religious minorities, including Christians, from the neighbouring three Islamic nations, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who have taken refuge in India prior to 31st December 2014.
Reportedly, fourteen protestors wearing Muslim attire sang carols during Christmas celebrations at St Thomas Mar Thoma Church in Kozhencherry in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta.
In the video of the performance shared on social media, the youngsters of the Church Choir group are seen singing Christmas carols composed in the tune of ‘Mappila pattu,’ which are traditional songs sung by the Muslim community in Kerala. The girls can be seen rhythmically clapping their hands similar to ‘Oppana’, another traditional art form of the Muslim community.
The video is being circulated with the caption ‘Christmas: Celebration of Refugees’.
This is India, no one can stop the unity of our religions. Please see how these youngsters appeared in their X’mas carol service in solidarity with Indian Muslims and protest against CAA&NRC. This was part of their Christmas carol service in Marthoma Church, Kozhenchery, Kerala. pic.twitter.com/CQjHb4GULn
— Jijoy (@jijoy_matt) December 25, 2019
Speaking to the media, Father Daniel T Philip, Assistant Vicar, said it was significant to express their solidarity to the agitations against CAA during the Christmas celebration.
“Jesus and his parents had to flee after his birth as refugees because of a king. What we are witnessing now can very well be related to it. People are being denied citizenship, their identities are getting lost, and they are being forced to run away as refugees. So for us, this year’s Christmas celebration is in solidarity with those people who are being victimised,” claimed Father Daniel.
He also added that the protestors chose to wear Muslim attire for the choir as a symbolic protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that protestors can be identified by their clothes. He added that the true meaning of Christmas lies in spreading peace among people.
“That is what we tried to do with this endeavour. There is no point in discriminating between communities or different persons; what we need is peace among all,” he said.
The event was organised by the Kozhencherry unit of Yuvajansakhyam, a youth wing of the Marthoma Church. Rev Daniel T Thomas, a priest who trained the youths, said that the carol was composed in mappila pattu style to express solidarity with those protesting against the CAA.
In a similar solidarity ‘protest’, few Churches in Kerala, Kolkata, Telangana and Assam had given sermon calls to people on Christmas-eve and morning mass to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act. Reportedly, some Kolkata churches called for an end to ‘politics of hate’. The law which gives citizenship to persecuted Christians in three neighbouring states is being opposed by Churches in India.
Kerala’s Syro-Malabar Catholic Church also said that they are getting ‘anxious’ because of barriers of ‘differentiation and division being created’. In a church sermon, Archbishop Mar Anthony Kariyil said that attempts should not be made to create confusion and complexity amongst people.
In Secunderabad, Telangana, Wesley Church on Christmas Day congregation had people standing with placards that read “We Indians reject CAA” and “CAA against the constitution”.
The Muslim mobs have gone on a rampage across the country to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. These mobs have resorted to extreme violence against police officials including firing bullets and injuring them as they tried to stop these violent mobs from pelting stones. The mobs have also damaged crores worth of public infrastructure including police stations, railway infrastructures to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act.