The Saint Dominic Cathedral at Kanjirappalli in Kerala’s Kottayam district, dating back to 1826, witnessed a unique protest march on Sunday as thousands of believers undertook a procession to the Church condemning religious conversions under the garb of Love Jihad.
The protest march which saw the participation of young and old Christian women was to draw the attention of the State Government to the large scale conversion of Christian girls to Islam by activists of various extremist religious organisations operating in Kerala.
The Catholic Bishops Council of Kerala in a resolution had condemned the kidnapping of Christian girls by some extremist elements to convert them to Islam promising them a happy married life and luxury life. The Council had quoted the National Minority Commission’s report which disclosed that during 2005 to 2012 more than 4,000 Christian girls have been fraudulently converted to Islam.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, the apex body of the Catholic community in the country charged that the religious conversion taking place in Kerala was an extension of the mass annihilation of the Christian community by Islamic terrorist organizations in West Asia. A release issued by the Council for Laity of the CBCI said that both the LDF and the UDF which alternately rule Kerala were ignoring the cruel deeds of the extremist organisations as part of vote bank politics. “The Union Home Ministry should urgently intervene in the matter as the Kerala Government and its police had turned blind eyes to the complaints filed by parents of girls who were kidnapped by Love Jihad activists,” demanded VC Sebastian, secretary, Council for Laity of the CBCI. He said that Kerala has become a “recruiting centre” for the extremist organisations because of the concurrence and silent approval by the parties ruling the State. The CBCI release also asked the Christian political leadership to come out of the political slavery and obeisance and to take a strong stand against the attacks on the community members. “The political leadership representing the Christians of the country should end its blind political slavery and take a stance giving top priority to the safety and security of the community,” said Sebastian.
Jaison Mazhuvancherry, one of the Catholic activists who led the rally said that there were efforts from certain Islamic organisations to make them cancel the rally. “They told us that the reports about Love Jihad were fake campaigns spread by Sangh Parivar. Since we had all the reports collected by our fact finding teams , they could not fool us this time,” said Jaison who added that the Christian community stood for conversion of hearts and not for religious conversion.