Narcotic Jihad row: Syro-Malabar church defends its under-fire bishop

Pala Bishop
Pala Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangatt.

The Syro-Malabar Church has rallied behind Mar Joseph Kallarangatt over the bishop's 'narcotic jihad' statement that has triggered a controversy.

The church's Public Affairs Commission chaired by Archbishop Andrews Thazhath issued a statement on Wednesday night justifying bishop Kallarangatt's now-infamous speech that was made during a sermon between a mass at Kuravilangad on September 8.

"The ongoing controversy over a warning Pala Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangatt issued to members of the laity who come under his care and consideration is unfortunate," the commission said in its statement.

It said that the bishop had "not spoken in a way to demean any particular community, religion or faith", but had rather "warned against the actions of certain anti-socials".

The commission has urged those who have "deliberately isolated the bishop by accusing him of creating communal disharmony" to withdraw from their attempts.

'Narcotic Jihad is real'
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was among the many that claimed to have never heard the term 'narcotic jihad' before bishop Kallarangatt used it during his sermon.

"The term 'Narco Jihad' was used in 2017 in a paper published by the European Foundation for South Asian Studies on the drug trade in Afghanistan. The paper has provided proof for the drug business done by terrorist organisations," the commission wrote in its statement.

"A few days back, 3,000 kg of drugs worth Rs 21,000 crores shipped from Afghanistan was seized from the Mundra Port in Gujarat. This was reported as the biggest drugs seizure in India.

Every religious community and organisation in Kerala maintains a distance from such anti-social activities. That said, it is a fact that this 'death trade' happens in Kerala. It was against this that Mar Joseph Kallarangatt spoke.

Those who turned the respected Kallarangatt bishop's speech into a controversy have decidedly hampered the seriousness of the matter he raised."

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