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Christian leaders meet PM, discuss issues including ‘Love Jihad’

The state BJP leadership is said to be upbeat over the Prime Minister’s meeting with the Catholic Church’s heads
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, including the contentious ‘Love Jihad’ stand that the Kerala Catholic Church has taken. 
The three Cardinals later told the media that the meeting was positive and that Prime Minister Modi had lent a patient ear to their issues.
It is learnt that the controversial issue of ‘Love Jihad’ was also conveyed to the Prime Minister. The Syro Malabar Catholic Church has recently said in statements that ‘Love Jihad’ was real and that it had been used to target Christian women. This stance has drawn criticism from reformist groups within the church. It has been alleged that the statement from top church leaders was made to create religious discord. The Kerala BJP has taken up the issue as well.
Cardinal Mar Baselious Cleemus said that the church heads had apprised Modi of the discrepancies in the distribution of scholarships for minority students, insofar that Christian students are getting only 20% 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% of the allocation on the basis of their proportion.
The meeting of the Catholic heads with the Prime Minister assumes significance as it was held at the behest of Mizoram Governor PS Sreedharan Pillai, a former President of the Kerala BJP.
The party state leadership is said to be 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.”