Kerala Catholic bishop slams Modi for turning blind eye to Manipur violence victims
Kerala Catholic bishop slams Modi for turning blind eye to Manipur violence victims

Kasaragod (Agency): Outspoken Catholic leader and Archdiocese of Thalassery, Mar Joseph Pamplany, took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for offering any solace to the victims of the ethnic clashes in Manipur.

“It was a proud moment for all Indians to see our Prime Minister standing tall among the world leaders during G20. But more than hugging the US president or the UK prime minister, we would have been happier if he had held close the women who were sexually assaulted and told them he is there for them, to protect and support them,” said Archbishop Pamplany.

This is the same bishop who in March said the settler Christian community of the hills would help the BJP win a Lok Sabha seat in Kerala if the Union government raised the price of rubber to Rs 300. He was panned by the political parties for his statement, and by the Catholic Church’s mouthpiece Sathyadeepam for reducing farmers’ problems to the price of rubber.

On Sunday, the archbishop’s disenchantment with the BJP and Modi was evident. “You are not the Prime Minister of any one section of people. You are the Prime Minister of every Indian. You have to prove that with your actions,” he said.

Pamplany was speaking at the culmination of the 24-hour hunger strike by Congress MP Rajmohan Unnithan in front of the Congress District Committee office in Kasaragod.
Unnithan raised three issues in his ‘Sathyagraha’: ‘To protect the Constitution, to protest against the Uniform Civil Code, and against the ethnic violence in Manipur’.

Archbishop Pamplany also mocked the Union government for using Bharat instead of India in the G20 summit, though both are official names of the country. “The bha in Bharat stands for light in Sanskrit. Bharatiyan means one who finds happiness in light. Changing the name is not enough. You should own a heart that celebrates lights,” he said, and added that crores of Hindus are not ignorant to endorse the forces that spread darkness in India.

“The Constitution of India is safe, the minorities of the country are safe as long as all the MPs, except from the ruling party, speak in one voice for the rights of minorities in Parliament,” he said.

When Rahul Gandhi visited Manipur when the state was burning, it sent out a message to the minority communities that they are there to protect the secularism assured in the Constitution, he said.

The bishop also welcomed the stance of the Indian Union Muslim League and Samastha on the Uniform Civil Code. “Uniform Civil Code, as they rightly said, is not an issue of the Muslim community,” he said.

Pamplany endorses Unnithan Archbishop Pamplany then batted for Unnithan’s candidature in the next Lok Sabha election. He said the factionalism in Congress should not cost Unnithan the ticket for the next election. “There should be no debate on who should contest for the MP’s seat in Kasaragod. I’m saying this because I know your behaviour,” he said.

“We want him back as the MP because he is secular and takes along people from all religions. This MP is entrenched in the hearts of the people of Kasaragod,” he said.

Kozhikode Lok Sabha member M K Raghavan said Narendra Modi took the approach of retaining power by dividing the country on communal lines. “The Opposition had to move a no-confidence motion to force Narendra Modi to speak on the violence in Manipur,” he said.

District Congress President P K Faisal, MLAs N A Nellikkunnu, and A K M Ashraf were among the UDF leaders who spoke at the meeting. (Courtesy: Onmanorama)