The bishop of Pala diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church issued a circular on Saturday to warn Christian families against various ‘groups’ trying to trap young girls from their community.
As per a report in Times of India, Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangatt of the Pala diocese, in his circular elaborated on how certain people are laying traps to befriend young girls of the local community through phone calls. “You must be aware of the various sections and groups that have been trying to trap our female children with various tactics,” read the opening lines of the letter.
Explaining the modus operandi, the bishop in the circular stated that the alleged callers first get in touch with local representatives or community leaders. Introducing themselves as a former priest from the parish, they seek a way to get the contact information of local young girls. This is done under the pretext of getting in touch with them for some academic work such as paper presentations in a foreign country.
“If the receiver expresses any doubt about the voice of the caller, the answer would be that he has just returned from abroad and the difference in voice was because of the weather in the foreign country. They would first pretend to be talking on subjects like honesty and about mother-daughter relationships,” explained bishop in the letter.
“But in a while, the topic and the style of language would change to get the information they want. And this kind of trap in various forms has now become common,” the circular read further.
Divulging further information on the matter, Fr Joseph Thadathil, vicar general of the Pala diocese informed that this group specifically seeks contacts of girls aged 16-22.
He said that multiple such incidents have been reported in the past three-four months and if the problem persists, they will demand a probe. Reportedly, many girls underwent mental trauma.
“It is not sure whether the intention is religious, drugs or sex,” said the vicar-general.
‘Increase in Love Jihad cases’
While the bishops alerted the families discreetly this time around, the Syro-Malabar Church has been vocal about the increase in ‘Love Jihad’ cases in Kerala.
Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC), has also slammed the State and Union Government for turning a blind eye to the issue, and not conducting a proper probe into the case of “missing women and children”.
In an official communique released last year by the Media Commission of the Syro Malabar Church, the Synod of the Church had said that half of the 21 women who joined the Islamic State from Kerala hailed from the Christian community.
“The menacing rise of Love Jihad stands to imperil the communal harmony and peace in Kerala. It is a fact that Christian girls are being targeted by the love jihad in the state,” the Synod stated explicitly in the press release.
Reportedly, the Pala diocese had come down heavily on the rise of love jihad cases just a few months ago.