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Kerala CPM Minister angers Bishops Council with ‘wine and cake with PM’ remark

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Kerala CPM Minister angers Bishops Council with ‘wine and cake with PM’ remark
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Kerala Minister Saji Cherian took a swipe at bishops who recently met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Christmas day, accusing them of prioritizing pleasantries over pressing issues.

The minister claimed that during the meeting, the bishops were more engrossed in enjoying wine and cake offered by the BJP than addressing the critical matter of Manipur violence.

During the Christmas interaction with Christian leaders, PM Modi emphasized his longstanding and warm relations with the Christian community. Simultaneously, the BJP's Kerala unit initiated a "Sneha yatra" to foster closer ties with the Christian community ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

Addressing a CPI(M) function in Alappuzha, Cherian expressed disappointment in the bishops, suggesting that their eagerness to accept BJP invitations overshadowed their responsibility to discuss the pressing issue of Manipur violence.

In response, the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC), a body representing bishops in the state, criticized Cherian's remarks. The council's secretary, Fr Jacob Palackappally, deemed the minister's statement unbecoming of his position, urging him to choose more respectful language. Palackappally questioned whether the bishops were the ones getting excited over wine, emphasizing the need for a more decorous discourse.

Palackappilly clarified that the Christmas programme was a reception organised by the Prime Minister to discuss the services provided by Christians in the country. He urged against adopting a negative stance on the matter and highlighted the participation of Christian priests including Bishops' as part of their commitment to the nation.

During an interaction with the members of the Christian community at his residence on Christmas, Modi had heaped praise on the minority community for its role in the freedom movement and various fields like healthcare and education and said the country proudly acknowledges its contribution. Modi had said the values of compassion, inclusivity and justice for all propagated by Jesus Christ also served as a 'guiding light' in his government's development journey.

This exchange adds to recent tensions between political figures and religious leaders in Kerala. Earlier, the KCBC had criticized CPI(M)-backed legislator K T Jaleel for his remarks about Christmas celebrations attended by leaders from various parties, including the BJP and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).

Jaleel had raised concerns about the BJP's stance on Christians in Manipur and speculated about IUML's potential participation in events like the Ayodhya temple consecration.

The KCBC condemned Jaleel's statements as an insult to state society and asserted its right to decide event attendees. This series of disagreements highlights the complex interplay between politics and religion in Kerala, setting the stage for continued tensions in the near future.

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TAGS:KCBCPrime Minister Narendra ModiSaji Cherian
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