Newsmaker | Kerala Cong (M)’s P C George taken into custody; marking the Christian leader’s gradual anti-Muslim tilt

Newsmaker | Kerala Cong (M)’s P C George taken into custody; marking the Christian leader’s gradual anti-Muslim tilt

India News

While often in the news for his colourful language and resultant controversies, George has lately been targeting Muslims in his speeches. This is a departure for the 71-year-old oldtimer who has enjoyed Muslim support in his pocketborough of Poonjar in Kottayam district.

At the Ananthapuri Hindu Maha Sammelan, an event backed by the Sangh Parivar Friday, George had stated that restaurants run by Muslims should be avoided because they use some kind of drops that cause impotence. He had also talked of “love jihad” and an “agenda to establish a Muslim country” by “sterilising men and women”.

On Saturday, following several complaints, police registered a case against George on charges of promoting enmity between groups on ground of religion, and for acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.

He was arrested from his residence in Poonjar. Known locally as a next-door man always available for his constituents, George is a six-time winner from Poonjar, including as an Independent in the 2016 Assembly elections, when he had defeated the UDF, LDF and NDA.

Having started his career with the Kerala Congress (Joseph), George had in 2006 broken away to form the Kerala Congress (Secular). After immediate electoral success, he had aligned with the Left in an unofficial capacity during the time in power of veteran V S Achuthanandan. His proximity to Achuthanandan made him a target of his rivals within the CPM.

Later, during the UDF regime from 2011 to 2016, George served as chief whip of the state government.

It was after the 2016 win that George took a turn towards the BJP. In 2017, he floated a new party, Kerala Janapaksham, and became an ally of the NDA, which was desperately looking for a Christian face in the state.

In this new stint, George has come to be known for his anti-Muslim attacks, including talking of “Muslims who bomb Christians”, a remark for which he later apologised.

George acquired a fan base alongside with a Facebook page, ‘The Truth, Uncut and Uncensored’. YouTube has several videos of his showing George showering abuses on politicians, journalists, government officials and social personalities, apart from comments against women attacked for being sexist.

During the 2021 Assembly elections, George had contested as an Independent, but without the backing of the NDA. Continuing his anti-Muslim tirade, he had gambled on getting the Hindu and Christian votes behind him. However, this had not ensured a win for him from Poonjar.

The ruling CPM and Opposition Congress have both criticised George for his remarks, saying after the Friday’s event that he was trying to polarise society.

In a statement, the CPM demanded that George retract his statement and tender an apology. Congress leader V D Satheesan sought stringent action against his “hate speeches”.

However, the BJP stood by George, with its state president K Surendran calling the police action against him an “infringement upon freedom of expression”. “The CPM government in Kerala has succumbed before the jihadis. The BJP will not allow Pinarayi Vijayan to hunt for Hindu, Christian leaders. The BJP strongly protests against the anti-democratic approach of the Left Government,” he said.

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