On Tuesday, the 28th Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church released a public statement saying that Keralite Christian girls are being targeted and killed in the name of ‘Love Jihad’. Priests said that Christian girls who are being converted to Islam and taken abroad are not living a dignified pious life, but are forced to become sex slaves.
“Many are even scared to use the term ‘Love Jihad’ but the Synod has now come out and said the exact words. There are reports of Christian girls getting converted and taken abroad. They are not living an ideal pious life either. They are made to live with more than one person and some are even pushed into becoming sex slaves,” said Syro-Malabar Media Commission secretary Fr Antony Thalachelloor.
Fr Thalachelloor said that the recent incidents in Kozhikode in which a 19-year-old woman was sexually abused and blackmailed into converting and instances of Christian women joining the Islamic State are examples of instances that got the Church worried. “It has also come to our notice that a Christian teenager was brutally stabbed to death after getting lured into an affair. Love affairs used to happen earlier as well, but the Church cannot overlook girls, especially Christian girls, getting targeted and later murdered on the pretext of ‘love’,” said Fr Thalachalloor.
The Synod, in its statement on Wednesday, said that movements like Love Jihad getting stronger would endanger communal harmony and peace in Kerala. It pointed out that around half of the 21 youths recruited to ISIS from the state were Christians. “It is a serious concern that several girls who are not accounted for in official records are being used for terrorist activities through Love Jihad. Statistic show that Love Jihad is not an illusion. It is a sad fact that police are not taking appropriate action in complaints,” the statement said.
Synod however said that they don’t observe Love Jihad in a way that it would affect the friendship between religions in the state. Instead of looking at it religiously, the authorities should look at it as a menace that would negatively affect the society.
BJP demands probe into issue
BJP leader Kummanam Rajasekharan has said the complaints raised by the Synod should be taken seriously and there should be a probe into the allegations.
He said such complaints are increasing in the state and the Synod’s demand that strict action be taken should be welcomed. “However, finance minister Thomas Isaac is learnt to have rubbished the claims made by the Church. This shows the CPM-Congress jihadi nexus,” he said.
The BJP leader said it is a serious allegation and the state government is turning a blind eye towards the issue.
Hundreds of complaints have been filed in various police stations across the state on the Love Jihad. But no arrests have been made so far in such cases, he alleged.
Meanwhile state police chief Loknath Behera said that they do not have any information on the matter. “If there is anything specific, the police will take necessary action,” he said.
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