Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday, 22 September, termed the ‘Narcotic Jihad’ controversy as unfortunate and reiterated that a crime related to narcotics is not connected to any religion.
In a press meet on Wednesday the CM said that there was no factual basis to support what was currently being propagated.
Pinarayi said that in 2020, there were 4,941 cases registered under the NDPS (Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act. There were 5,422 accused in these cases and 2,700 (49.80%) were Hindus, 1,869 were Muslims (34.47%) and 853 (15.73%) were Christians, he pointed out.
'Drug Sale is Not Based On Religion' "There is no unusual proportion anywhere in these facts. Drug sale is not based on religion. No such instances of forcefully getting someone addicted to drugs and then converting them to another religion has come to our notice, nor were such complaints received. There is no evidence to show that the consumers or drug dealers belonged to a particular community. In schools and colleges, there are students of various communities. It’s childish to view it as a conspired attempt of a particular community" - CM Vijayan said
He asserted that the government will lead the attempt to strengthen the secular fabric of the state.
Earlier this month, Pala Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt triggered a major row in the state when he said that non-Muslims were subjected to ‘Narcotic and Love Jihad.’ The 'love jihad' bogey is used by right-wing organisations and even a few churches in Kerala to propagate the theory that Muslim men ‘lure and trap’ and marry Hindu or Christian women with malafide intentions.
Pinarayi in his initial response to the Bishop’s statement said that people holding responsible positions should exercise restraint and added that there was no need to initiate legal action against the Bishop.
On Wednesday, coming down heavily on the Bishop without directly naming him, the CM said that those who want to make gains with divisive moves should be ostracised. He warned that the government would act sternly on such moves and won’t remain a mere spectator.
'No Clear Evidence to Substantiate Narcotics Jihad Claim'
Speaking particularly about the claims of forceful conversion, Pinarayi said that there has been no clear evidence or complaints regarding such conversion.
“An entirely different picture popped up when I checked the facts regarding the propaganda of luring women including Christians in the name of love, converting them and recruiting them to terrorist organisations like the Islamic State," the CM said.
He added that of the 100 Malayalis who joined the Islamic State till 2019, 72 were those who went abroad for jobs or related things and then got attracted to the terror outfit. All these people, except one man from Kozhikode, were born into the Muslim community.
"The other 28 joined the Islamic State from Kerala. Of these 28, only five joined the terror outfit after getting converted to Islam from some other religion. None of this evidence substantiates the propaganda that women are being trapped in the name of love to recruit to terrorist organisations," Pinarayi said.
Meanwhile, a meeting of various Muslim organisations was held at Kozhikode on Wednesday to discuss the controversial statement of the Bishop on the prevalence of "love and narcotic jihad." Those gathered at the meeting demanded that the Bishop withdraw his remark.
However, the Syro-Malabar church threw its weight behind the Bishop, alleging that it was a concerted move to isolate and attack him for a ‘warning’ issued to the laity during worship and that such ‘attempts will be resisted.’
(Published in arrangement with The News Minute)
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