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Kerala Minister criticises bishops for 'not raising' issue of Manipur at Modi's Christmas event

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Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) | January 1, 2024 6:21:28 PM IST
Kerala Minister Saji Cherian has criticised bishops who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Christmas day last week for failing to speak about the Manipur violence.

Addressing a CPI(M) function in Alappuzha on Sunday, Cherian said, certain bishops get "goosebumps" when BJP leaders invite them.

"Certain bishops get goosebumps when they get an invitation from the BJP. Those who went to meet the Prime Minister did not have the uprightness to speak about Manipur. They were served with cakes and grape wine. Manipur was not at all the subject of discussion for them," the minister said.

"Did anyone of them (bishops) question or ask PM to intervene in Manipur where hundreds of people from the community they represent are being butchered," he added.

The Kerala minister further alleged that the bishops were invited because the BJP needs seats in Kerala and northeastern states.

"Not because they love and care.... Were they (bishops) enthusiastic to say this? No, there was no enthusiasm. Then there are some priests in Kerala who say that they are BJP supporters owing to the threats from Sangh Parivar," he alleged.

Union Minister and BJP leader V Muraleedharan has, however, hit back at the Kerala Minister, saying that the latter's statement is an insult to the state.

"Kerala Minister's statement against Bishops is an insult to Kerala. Here the Minister is abusing the bishops.. He might be hoping for a promotion or additional portfolio, that's why he is saying these things," Muraleedharan said.

Recently, on the occasion of Christmas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had an interaction at his residence in New Delhi.

In the interaction, the PM said India "proudly acknowledges" the contribution of the Christian community - from its role in India's freedom struggle to its "active participation" in social service.

Modi said he had "a very old, very close, very warm relations" with the Christian community.

"When I was Gujarat Chief Minister, I used to frequently interact with the Christian community... Maninagar, from where I used to contest elections, has a large (Christian) population and due to this, I had a natural rapport," he said.

"The Christian community has played an important role in the freedom movement. Many thinkers and leaders of the Christian community were involved in the freedom struggle. Gandhiji had said that the Non-Cooperation Movement was conceived under the patronage of Sushil Kumar Rudra, principal of St Stephen's College," Modi said.

Over 180 people have died and thousands have been internally displaced since the ethnic violence began on May 3 in the northeastern state.

The ethnic violence involving the Kuki and Meitei communities erupted after a rally by the All Tribal Students Union of Manipur (ATSUM) on May 3. With the violence and rioting persisting and many lives lost, the Centre had to deploy paramilitary forces to restore peace in the state.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court asked the Manipur government to furnish to the court-appointed committee the details about the steps it had taken to restore the places of worship that had been destroyed in the ethnic violence. (ANI)

 
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