Thiruvananthapuram/New Delhi, Jan 19 (IANS) The Syro Malabar Church’s Archbishop, Cardinal George Alanchery, the Malankara Syrian Church’s Archbishop, Cardinal Baselious Mar Cleemus and Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mumbai’s Cardinal Archbishop Oswald Gracias met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday to discuss various issues.
The three Cardinals later told the media that the meeting was positive and that the Prime Minister had lent a patient ear to their issues.
Cardinal Mar Baselious Cleemus said that the church heads had apprised Modi about the discrepancies in the distribution of scholarships for minority students, insofar that Christian students are getting only 20 per cent of the minority scholarship amount, while another minority community is garnering the rest.
The church leadership is of the opinion that the community should get at least 41 per cent of the allocation on the basis of their proportion.
It is learnt that the contentious issue of “Love Jihad” was also conveyed to the Prime Minister as the Catholic community is worried over several Christian girls getting converted to Islam after marrying Muslim youths. Three Christian girls who married Muslim youths and converted to Islam have gone to IS territory in Afghanistan and Syria. The Christian community is worried over this trend and the Kerala BJP has been taking this issue up.
The meeting of the Catholic heads with the Prime Minister assumes significance as it was held at the behest of Mizoram Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai, a former President of the Kerala BJP.
The party state leadership is upbeat over the Prime Minister meeting the Catholic Church’s heads as the party knows that the support of the Christian community is very crucial for it in the state. With the BJP taking the lead to settle the issues between the Orthodox and Jacobite churches, it feels that there will be a definite support base evolving among the Christian community for the BJP.
BJP state President K. Surendran, speaking to IANS over telephone, said: “The PM meeting the Church heads is a good development. They have aired their genuine grievances and let us see how things move ahead.”