No relevance for new party; BJP was not ruling Odisha during Kandhamal violence: Thamarassery Bishop

By MP Suryadas

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Mar Remigiose Inchananiyil | Mathrubhumi

Recently, Mar Joseph Pamplany, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, created ripples in the political waters of Kerala by saying that BJP's dearth of an MP from Kerala would be addressed if the Union Government increases the price of natural rubber to Rs 300 per kilogram. Following this, the senior church figures in the state have been wary about acquiescing or renouncing his statement.

Echoing a similar sympathy and stressing the importance of adopting policies to support farmers, Bishop of Thamarassery Diocese Mar Remigiose Inchananiyil made a surprising move to side with Joseph Pamplany's statement.

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"The farmers are abandoning farming due to low procurement prices for their products, increased wages and other expenses. About 70 per cent of those engaged in farming in the past dropped this profession. The remaining farmers are living in poverty and debt. Bishop Pamplany only raised his voice to support this farming community," Bishop Inchananiyil said.

The farming community also includes non-Christians. Pamplany voiced his opinion for everyone. What is wrong with supporting those who help farmers? asked Bishop Inchananiyil.

Bishop slammed the LDF government for not keeping up with its electoral promise to increase rubber stabilisation prices to Rs 250 and also over wildlife-human confrontations and buffer zone issues.

Thalassery Archbishop Mar Joseph Pamplany

"There is a feeling that the majority in the minority category neglects the minorities in the same category. The issue is amplified when the minorities welfare department is always assigned to a particular community," he said. The church had asked the chief minister to take over the department since it was always controlled by a Muslim minister in the past.

He added that the Congress and Kerala Congress are fighting for power and have forgotten farmers' needs and aspirations.

The Bishop also dismissed the editorial ridiculing Pamplany published in 'Sathyadeepam', the mouthpiece of Ernakulam-Angamaly Diocese, as the voice of urban citizens. “They don’t know farmers' woes," he said. “BJP was not ruling Odisha when the Kandhamal incident happened,” he said in response to the ‘Sathyadeepam’ criticism of the church backing its "attackers."

The bishop denied holding talks with BJP leaders. When inquired about the proposed political party for Christians backed by BJP, Inchananiyil said that the church was “not living in a fool's paradise" and said a new party had no relevance in Kerala.

The bishop said the church did not help BJP in the north-eastern states. "Christians voted for BJP when they saw better infrastructure development," he said.

Read the full interview in Malayalam here.

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