Pala Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangatt | Image: video Screengrab
Thiruvananthapuram: Amid the ongoing controversy over his recent "narcotic and love jihad" remarks, Joseph Kallarangatt, Bishop of Pala diocese of Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, said on Saturday while "pseudo secularism will destroy India" there is a need to safeguard the values of true secularism.
In an article published in the Church organ Deepika daily on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the Bishop, without mentioning his controversial "narcotic and love jihad" remarks, came down heavily on those who insist that one should not talk about the evils that befall his own community.
Breaking his silence for the first time after his remarks last month generated widespread criticism, the Bishop indirectly justified it, saying those who do not speak out against mistakes are silently encouraging them to flourish.
The Bishop opined that instead of ignoring the warnings issued against society's evils, it should discuss and study them to prevent their further occurrences.
Talking about secularism in the present day Kerala society, the Bishop said "today's concern is that whether we are heading for a communally polarised Kerala by opting the route of secularism."
He said questions are being raised from various quarters on who gets the real benefits of secularism.
Noting that secularism is the core of India, the Bishop said, "pseudo secularism will destroy the country".
"Our constitution is based on secularism. The religious community and the secular community must learn to live together. The essence of Indian secularism is that all religions should be respected," he said.
"We should understand how secularism gives birth to extremism by looking at the growth of conservative racist movements in the West. The situation of India will not be different if we fail to accept Indian secularism in its literal sense," the Bishop wrote.
While paying tributes to the life and message of the Father of the Nation, Kallarangatt said Mahatma Gandhi's teachings were essential for the existence of the country and its meaningful secularism.
The Bishop's "love and narcotic jihad' remarks had triggered a political row in the state with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan saying that those who hold responsible positions should refrain from making statements causing division in society.
While the Congress said the bishop has crossed limits, the BJP had supported him by urging society to discuss the statement. PTI