Communists back Catholics over Indian land issue

Communists in a south Indian state have declared support for five Christian candidates in national elections.

The Left Democratic Front, an alliance of communist parties in Kerala, has come out for the candidates because of a common position on a land issue.

Christian groups, led by a number of Catholic bishops, have been campaigning against government plans to increase environmental protection in the Western Ghats region which runs through Kerala.

Christian leaders say the plans would displace millions of poor farmers – the majority of them Catholics.

A senior communist leader told ucanews that they had discussions with Catholic Church representatives.

“We have indicated that we would field a candidate of their choice,” he said.

Kerala’s Catholic bishops called on believers in the state to vote only for those who can ensure the protection of ordinary farmers living in fear along the Western Ghats.

In a pastoral letter, the bishops wrote that for Catholics, environmental protection is a way of life.

“But at the same time we should also be able to correct attempts to protect flora and fauna at the expense of humans,” the letter states.

An Indian political analyst said this support of Christian candidates by communists is unprecedented in India.



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