CPM and LDF are caught in a conundrum after LDF ally Kerala Congress (M) leader Jose K Mani issued a statement on ‘Love Jihad’. In a TV interview, Mani stated, “Love jihad has again come up as an issue. Society has apprehensions about it. As the issue has emerged again, the apprehensions about it should be cleared.”
This statement has sparked controversy in the ruling left alliance just ahead of the Assembly election, reported the Indian Express.
To add to it, Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) has expressed its support to Jose K Mani, an ally for his statement on Love Jihad.
KCBC spokesperson, Fr Jacob, commenting on the issue demanded, “CPM and other major political parties should reveal their stance on the matter.” He added, “Love Jihad is a fact. I am happy about the practical response from Kerala Congress (M) chairman Jose K Mani”, as per a Mathrubhumi report.
Disgruntled with the Chief Minister’s denial of the existence of Love Jihad, he added, “The Chief Minister claims that Love Jihad does not exist. He is making such a statement over his political agenda. The church and the public are worried about Love Jihad. The government and political parties are bound to solve the issue.”
Clarifying his stance on willful inter-religion marriage, he said, “The church is not against marriage between people who belong to different religions. But the church opposes making someone forcefully follow a religion.”
Fr Jacob alleged that only Muslim League denies the existence of Love Jihad.
Jose Mani is contesting elections from Pala, a constituency that has a sizable chunk of Catholic votes. Jose is up against sitting legislator and NCP (Kerala) leader Mani C Kappan who enjoys mass following. However, the Catholic Church in Kerala has been consistently voicing against “love jihad”. They also have sought BJP’s support for the same.
While the other parties are silent on the issue, BJP in its manifesto released last week has promised to bring legislation to counter ‘Love Jihad’.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor attacked BJP on this issue and said that the BJP can only offer communalism, scare-mongering over ‘Love Jihad’ and hate-filled politics of division which will not succeed in a pluralist state like Kerala.
Kerala goes into voting on April 06 and the counting of votes will take place on May 02 along with Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, West Benagl and Assam.