Bishop's statement on political martyrs: Church says his statement misinterpreted

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Mar Joseph Pamplany | Screengrab: mbtv

Kannur: The Thalassery archdiocese of the Catholic church has condemned the "misinterpretation" of its archbishop's statement on political martyrs and said the church has a history of respecting the martyrs. Thalassery Archbishop Mar Joseph Pamplany had on Saturday courted controversy by stating that political martyrs are those who died after getting into "unnecessary fights".

At an event of the Kerala Catholic Youth Movement (KCYM) held on Saturday, the Bishop had said that the martyrdom of the 12 apostles of Jesus was different from that of political martyrs.

The archdiocese, in a statement issued on Sunday night, said that some persons were "misinterpreting the statement of the Bishop".

"The church has a long history of respecting martyrs...There are people who were martyred for their ideology and values just like the apostles...It's a fact that there are such martyrs cutting across political lines. But some were sacrificed for vested interests and the Bishop warned against such incidents," the statement read.

It condemned "such misinterpretation of a general statement" which did not have any "political implication".

The church also said that they respect those who were martyred for the country and its independence.

"The martyrdom of the Apostles is not like that of the political martyrs. Some of the political martyrs are those who got shot after getting into unnecessary fights with someone or some are those who fell from bridges while fleeing from the police after some protests. But the 12 martyred apostles (of Jesus) are those who sacrificed their lives for truth, and the wellbeing of the world," Pamplany had said.

The video went viral on Sunday after which senior Left leaders including LDF convenor E P Jayarajan and senior Left leader P Jayarajan had criticised the statement.

P Jayarajan had asked Pamplany whether Gandhiji was killed after he engaged in some "unnecessary fight" with someone.

"How can he insult the martyrs? They are called martyrs after they lost their lives when the communal or fascist forces murdered them. There are martyrs from various political parties and religions," E P Jayarajan said.

The LDF convenor had also said that "such baseless comments" against martyrs who sacrificed their lives for society cannot be accepted.

"Earlier, he (Bishop Pamplany) made the statement that BJP will get a seat if the rubber price is increased to Rs 300 per kg. So we are not giving any importance to his statement," P Jayarajan said.

He was referring to Pamplany's statement on March 19 this year in which he said that if the Centre promised to increase the rate of rubber procurement to Rs 300 per kg, BJP's dearth of an MP from the southern state would be addressed. His statement had created ripples in the political waters of the state.

P Jayarajan had also pointed out that many Christians were martyred in the recent Manipur riots.

Meanwhile, the BJP had come out in support of the Bishop and had said that the "attack" on the senior cleric was anti-democratic.

"It is the CPI(M) which makes martyrs out of those who get into unnecessary fights with others...The Bishop exposed the CPI(M). Political violence happens only in places where the Left party is strong. They are the ones who celebrate the death of martyrs," BJP state chief K Surendran had claimed. PTI

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