Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam General Secretary Vellappally Natesan on Monday claimed that Christians are at the “forefront” of religious conversions in India and said it was “not right to target the Muslim community” on the matter, The Indian Express reported.
Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam is an outfit of Kerala’s numerically strong Ezhava community.
Natesan, who is the patron of National Democratic Alliance ally Bharat Dharma Jana Sena, objected to Catholic bishop Joseph Kallarangatt’s remarks that Muslims in Kerala had launched a “narcotic jihad” that lured members of other religious groups to become drug addicts.
However, the Bharatiya Janata Party has supported Kallarangatt and sought a law against “narcotic jihad”.
“When a Christian woman goes to the Muslim side, there are a hundred women from other communities getting married to Christians,” Natesan claimed on Monday. “Why is nobody speaking about that? Christians are marrying Ezhava women. Christians are the largest group in the country engaged in conversion. Muslims do not convert on that scale.”
Like Kallarangatt, Natesan also made a reference to “love jihad” – a conspiracy theory that had so far widely been espoused by Hindutva activists. They allege that through “love jihad”, Hindu women are forcibly converted by Muslims through marriage.
“In love jihad, only a Christian woman is taken to the Muslim community,” Natesan said, according to The Indian Express. “Whereas in conversion, an entire family is going to Christianity. When speaking about conversion and love jihad, no doubt Christians are at the forefront.”
He alleged that Christian missionaries have “exploited the deprived sections of society”, PTI reported.
Natesan also castigated Christian priest Roy Kannanchira for alleging that Hindu Ezhava youths are strategically trained to trap Catholic women in love marriage. He later apologised for his comments but Natesan demanded that he “should be defrocked and ousted” from the church.