BJP wants Kerala minister’s ouster over road blockade

September 16th, 2008 - 7:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyThiruvananthapuram, Sep 16 (IANS) Kerala Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president P.K. Krishna Das has asked Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan to oust a cabinet colleague who participated in a road blockade to protest attacks on churches in different parts of the country.Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran had participated in a road-block protest Tuesday on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border by the Kerala Pentecostal Fellowship to protest the attack on Christians in Orissa, Karnataka and Kerala.

Das, in a statement issued here, said that it is perhaps the first time that a minister had launched a protest blockade.

“This act of his is a blot on the secular credentials of the state because this clearly incites passion against a particular community,” Das said.

While inaugurating the protest, Divakaran addressed a large crowd of Christians blocking the highway for over three hours.

“This can happen only in Kerala. I don’t think anyone can block traffic in Chennai. Our government will not allow any force to attack churches,” said Divakaran, who belongs to the Communist Party of India.

Apart from Divakaran, several political leaders from various political parties had taken part in the blockade.

Churches in Orissa were attacked and communal clashes broke out in parts of the state last month over the killing of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader. The killing was blamed on Christian groups, though police said Maoists were behind the attack.

On Sunday, churches and prayer halls in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts in Karnataka were attacked by suspected Bajrang Dal activists, who alleged that the churches were enticing Hindus to convert to Christianity. Mangalore, the headquarters of Dakshina Kannada, remained shut Tuesday over communal violence that followed.

Coming close on the heels of the attacks in Karnataka, a missionary school that doubled up as a temporary church was attacked in Kerala’s Kasargod district Monday.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, meanwhile, condemned the attacks and lashed out at the right wing Sangh Parivar for creating communal friction.

“They have a clear cut agenda to delay elections in states and people should protests against these forces,” said Vijayan.

Kerala Police has been on high alert after churches were attack in Karnataka and Kasargod and all vehicles coming into the state from Karnataka are being thoutoughly checked, an official said.

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