Ground Report | New Delhi: Kerala divide Christians Muslims; Recent outbreaks of communalism on the part of some Christian priests, communal tension is rising in Kerala between two religious groups -Muslims and Christians.
According to the 2011 census, Kerala has 54.73 percent Hindus, 26.56 percent Muslims and 18.38 percent Christians, and the remaining religious minorities 0.33 percent. Thus the minority communities in the state constituted 45.27 percent of the total population. Of these, 58.67 percent were Muslims, 40.6% Christians and 0.73 percent were other minority communities.
Recently, Church leaders were angry that the Muslim community had strongly objected to the 10 percent reservation introduced by the LDF government for the economically weaker sections in the upper castes. Church leaders openly complained, even to the Prime Minister, that Muslims were taking away most of the benefits of minorities in Kerala.
In an order dated 18 May 2021, the Kerala HC had quashed three orders requiring state governments to announce scholarships in the ratio of 80:20 to ‘Muslim and Latin Catholic/converted Christian’ students.
The government orders were aimed at taking affirmative action to achieve economic and social upliftment of students from relative communities, granting scholarships and hostel stipends. It also aims to sanction a scholarship scheme for minority students pursuing CA, ICWA, and CS courses on a merit cum mean basis.
The High Court had observed that the three government orders discriminated against the rights of other minority communities and that welfare schemes for minorities were to be distributed among all minorities in proportion to the population.
At the same time, as the post-election Christian-Muslim divide began to widen, the CPM’s focus was on quelling Hindu anger. The LDF government announced the acquisition of around 2,250 acres of the disputed Cheruvali estate for the Sabarimala airport, knowing full well that it would be quashed by the courts.
The Muslim reaction to the LDF government’s 10 percent reservation for the poor in the upper castes further alienated Christians. The BJP was also now serious about the leaders of the church. (Kerala divide Christians Muslims)
Perhaps fueled by this general anti-Muslim climate, he first publicly complained that the lion’s share of minority gains in Kerala was held by Muslims. They took the complaint to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when church leaders met him at his residence on 23 January.
Kerala has the highest poverty rate among Muslims (28 percent) followed by Scheduled Castes (38 percent) and Scheduled Tribes (38.7 percent). Poverty among Christians is the lowest at 4 percent. Among Hindus, it is 22.6 percent.