THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A video grab showing a Keralite catholic priest allegedly using insulting language against women wearing jeans and shirts while offering worship at churches, has gone viral on social media.
In a programme aired by 'Shalom', a Christian devotional channel, which was later uploaded on the internet, the priest said the Holy Bible and Catholic Church have not given permission to girls to wear jeans and T-shirts, which is the attire of boys.
Though the video carries the logo of Shalom TV, PTI could not independently verify its authenticity.
In the programme, apparently a convention, the priest can be heard saying that girls, who wear jeans and skimpy dresses against the principles of Holy Bible, should be drowned.
However, the priest's office, when contacted, said they have not seen the video and it might have been uploaded on the social media by somebody with "vested interest".
"It is said to be the video of an one-year-old programme. We do not know who uploaded it. We feel that an edited version of his speech was uploaded by somebody with some vested interests," the office said.
In the video, the priest said, "I do not feel like leading the mass in some churches where girls are seen dressed in jeans, pants, T-shirts and a mobile in hand.
"My question is... who gave you the right to wear such attires of boys? Does Catholic church give you the right? Or does the Holy Bible give you the right to do so?", the priest is heard asking the audience.
"The Bible says that men should not wear the clothes of women and women should not wear those of men. If they do so, they disregard God," the priest said.
He said many boys had complained to him that though they took good decisions after attending religious classes, the "semi-nude women outside church persuaded them to commit sin."
"Those (girls) who do so should be drowned after tying a stone to their neck," he said, adding that if girls come to the church wearing skimpy clothes, they would be cursed, instead of being blessed by God.
A number of persons, especially women, have come out against the priest's speech on the social media. Senior CPI(M) leader and former Rajya Sabha MP T N Seema said such statements have emanated from those with "primitive and distorted values and conscience. By such statements, these people are actually insulting their own religion before the society."
"Such people escape from clutches of law under the cover of religious protection," she told PTI here. Kerala Women's Commission chairperson K Rosakutty said such uttering cannot be justified.
"If a man wears jeans and goes to church, it is not wrong. How does it become improper when a girl or woman goes to church wearing jeans?", she asked saying this was a clear case of gender inequality.
"There are instances wherein four-year-old child and those above 90 are being molested. Is the attack on them due to their attire? What kind of culture is this?," she asked.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Poochakkat, Syro Malabar Church spokesperson, said, "This is not an official view of the church. Church is not of such an opinion. We do not have such an opinion or thinking. But according to us all attending church should wear decent and noble clothes."