Ahead of state elections in Kerala state, Catholic bishops have cautioned people against misleading political campaigns that polarize people on religious lines in this Indian southern state. The bishops’ warning came after a political leader justified the takeover of the 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia Cathedral in Turkey and turning it into a mosque.
“It is true. The efforts are on to create a Christian-Muslim divide in the state ahead of the elections with fake, misleading and maligning campaigns,” said Bishop Joseph Pamplany, chairman of the media commission of Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC).
The KCBC urged political leaders to abstain from any act that polarizes voters on communal lines in a statement issued on Feb. 5.
State elections are due in Kerala in April-May to elect 140 legislators for the state’s 33 million people as the current government’s five-year term ends on June 1.
The state is set to see a fierce battle for power as the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which runs the federal government, tries to find a foothold in Kerala.