IDUKKI: A Catholic priest under the Idukki diocese of the Syro-Malabar church was relieved of his duties as vicar on Monday, hours after he joined the BJP.
Fr Kuriakose Mattam received the primary membership of the BJP from the party's Idukki district president K S Aji on Monday. Within hours, the Idukki diocese initiated action against him.
The church said Fr Mattom has been temporarily relieved of parish duties at the Mankuva St Thomas church near Adimali. "Father Kuriakose Mattam of Mankuva church has been temporarily relieved of his duties as vicar," a statement by the Idukki Diocese said.
A church spokesperson told PTI that the disciplinary action was taken as under Canon Law, a priest of the church cannot join or have active participation in any political party. The 74-year-old priest will retire in a few months, a church source said.
The priest joined the BJP at a time when the catholic church had been attacking the party over the Manipur violence. In a Facebook post, Aji shared the images of the priest and said Fr Mattam has joined the BJP after "observing the current situation" in the country.
In a video, the priest said that he could not find any reason not to join the BJP.
"I follow contemporary issues. I don't find any reason not to join the BJP. I have friendships with many BJP workers. Today I received a membership. I have read from the newspapers and have an understanding of the BJP in the country," the priest said.
Aji said the entry of the Christian priest into the BJP is a reply to those who criticise the party over the Manipur issue.