Church and communists should co-exist: Karat


Kottayam (Kerala) : Kerala’s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) began its four-day conference here Monday with party general secretary Prakash Karat asking both the Church and the communists to co-exist peacefully.

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“The Church should move ahead with changing times and it is not good for them to issue pastoral letters against us. Like a large Christian community in the state, there is also a large number of Communists and through a dialogue we can settle our difference of opinion,” Karat said while delivering his inaugural address.

The CPI-M has been attacking the Church at repeated intervals with state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan taking the lead.

A Catholic bishop came under heavy attack from Vijayan last year and the laity and priests even took out a protest march in Kozhikode.

Since then, the Catholic community has repeatedly issued pastoral letters, condemning the Left government and has recently been joined by the Syrian Orthodox Church.

“The government also should pursue a path to see that any difference of opinion with the church should be settled,” asked Karat.

Kerala’s Christian community constitutes 22 percent of the total population of 32 million.

In the May 2006 assembly polls, a large number of Catholics voted for the CPI-M since it felt that the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) did not take a positive stand towards the community.

However, the Church realized that the Left was also no different, especially when it came to tackling the professional education sector where the Church has huge stakes.