Months after the lecturer, T J Joseph was attacked in 2010, the Catholic management of Newman College in Thodupuzha had suspended him from service and sources within the family said his wife Salomy was dejected by the Church’s reluctance to reinstate him as he was the sole breadwinner of the family.
Her body was found hanging on Wednesday.
Despite demands from the state government, civil society and the university that Joseph be reinstated, the Church management had taken no action.
After being removed from service, Joseph had said the management’s move had pained him more than the attack he had faced from alleged Popular Front of India activists.
Sources said Salomy took the extreme step after she realized that Joseph would not be reinstated before March 31, the day he was to retire from service. In that case, Joseph would naturally be denied any salary or benefit.
Advocate Ramkumar on Wednesday said the management had tried to delay Joseph’s reinstatement until his retirement and that a criminal case should be filed against the diocese of Kothamangalam and the college management.
- indian express
Congress leaders in Kerala say party’s legislative member V T Balaram would be censored for his adverse comments against a Catholic Bishop in Kerala.
Balaram, MLA from Thrithala in Palakkad district, had made a sharp FaceBook posting against Idukki Bishop Mathew Anikkuzhikattil who had come down heavily on the section of the Congress leadership Saturday.
The party’s displeasure about Balaram should be seen against its struggle to win the seats in the upcoming general elections.
The issue started when Congress candidate for Idukki, Dean Kuriakose, called on the Bishop Saturday seeking his blessings. During the meeting, the Bishop said political leaders visit him when elections are round the corner but forget about their commitments when in power.
When his reaction was sought on the controversy, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters that he did not think Balaram would have made such a comment.
Chandy, however, added that Balaram would be censured if he had made adverse remarks against the bishop.
The issue also figured at the KPCC campaign committee meeting held here with the state party chief V M Sudheeran also expressing displeasure at the comment made by Balaram.
The bishop’s ire against politicians assumes significance in the context of the Congress’s decision not to field sitting MP P T Thomas, who had incurred the displeasure of the church over the Kasturirangan report on the Western Ghats.
Thomas had accused the church of indulging in politics and targetting him personally.
It was apparently in view of the fear of incurring the church’s wrath that Kuriakose was made the candidate for Idukki replacing Thomas.
Some dalit, Christian and Muslim groups have extended support to AIADMK in the upcoming general elections in Tamil Nadu.
Leaders of these parties called on Chief Minister and AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa at her residence on March 7 and expressed their solidarity with her party.
Those who had called on Jayalalithaa include All India Moovendar Munnetra Kazhagam president N Sethuraman, Moovendar Munnetra Kazhagam president GM Sridhar Vandaiyar, Tamizhaga Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam president P John Pandiyan, Puratchi Bharatham leader Poovai M Jaganmurthi M Prakash, Bishop and Synod of the Independent Churches of India.
They came along with the senior office-bearers of their parties and organizations and conveyed their support to the AIADMK.
INL national president Mohammed Sulaiman, party’s State president M Basheer Ahmed, All India Desiya League president SJ Inayathuallah, Tamil Maanila Muslim League leader S Sheik Dawood, Indian Union Quaid E Milleth leader MG Dawood Miakhan and Indian Tauheed Jamaat leader SM Pakhar also called on Jayalalithaa and expressed their support for the AIADMK.
Already, Madurai Adheenam Arunagirinatha Swamigal and leaders of many other parties have extended support to the AIADMK.
- new indian express
Communist-backed Innocent seeks Cardinal’s blessings
Kochi, March 11, 2014: “I came only to seek his blessings,” the actor told media persons. Noted Malayalam film actor Thekkethala Innocent, who is contesting the Chalakkudy constituency backed by the Left Democratic Font, met Cardinal Mar George Alenchery, the head of the Syro Malabar Church, in Kochi on Saturday.
“There will be place for Innocent in my heart,” Cardinal Alencherry said after the meeting. Innocent said that the cardinal had visited him when he was in the hospital for cancer treatment.
“I came only to seek his blessings,” the actor told media persons.
“I am optimistic about winning in Chalakkudy constituency. The strong relationship with the people of the place will be a great advantage for me. People there have seen and known me for over 20 years,” Innocent said.
“If I win, I would like to do more things for the common people in the coastal and high range areas,” he added. Cardinal Alencherry also gave his best wishes for the candidate.
- new indian express
Kerala communists back Catholics in elections
The Communist party in Kerala has thrown its support behind five Christian candidates in the southern Indian state, a traditionally Christian stronghold, in the country’s forthcoming national elections.
The move highlights a bridging of the divide between communists and Christians in the state, as well as a growing disaffection between Christians and the ruling Congress party, particularly over the issue of the government’s plans to protect the Western Ghats, a hilly region that runs through Kerala.
Christians, who comprise less than 20 percent of the state’s 30 million population, have been politically decisive in some pockets of the state’s electorate and are traditionally strong backers of the Congress party.
The Left Democratic Front (LDF), an alliance of communist parties in the state and a perennial foe of the Congress party, says it has agreed to support the five Christian candidates.
“This is the first time that the communists have supported so many Christians,” said A Jayashanker, a political analyst based in the Kerala state capital Thiruvananthapuram.
It is not the first time that communists and Christians have found themselves on the same side of electoral issues, but this time “it is an attempt to take advantage of the current political situation,” as the Catholic Church is disappointed with the ruling Congress party on the issue of the Western Ghats, Jayashankar added.
Christian groups, led by a number of Catholic bishops, have been campaigning against government plans to implement recommendations of the High-Level Green Committee aimed at increasing environmental protection in the Western Ghats.
Christian leaders say the recommendations would, if implemented in their entirety, displace millions of farmers – the majority of them Catholics.
But MA Baby, a politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and a candidate for election from Kollam, denies that the communists are simply playing politics in their support of Catholic candidates.
“We field candidates based on their merits and capacity to garner the maximum number of votes,” Baby said.
A senior communist leader told ucanews.com that they had discussions with Catholic Church representatives.
“We have indicated that we would field a candidate of their choice,” he said.
Thekkethala Innocent, a popular Malayalam film star and member of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is one such candidate, running for the Chalakudy constituency.
Innocent told ucanews.com that he was offered the ticket by the LDF as a token of his popularity among the common people.
“My father was a Catholic and a communist,” said the 69-year-old. “He told me that only communists fight for social equality.”
He said religion has nothing to do with politics. “We people in Chalakudy don’t think about people on the lines of their religion or color. We judge them by their qualities as human beings.”
Sri Lanka, March 06, 2014: The Sri Lankan Navy has restricted the entry of those journalists visiting Katchatheevu island to cover this year’s annual St.Antony’s Church festival who have ‘temporary visa.’
Unlike last year, when more than 30 journalists from the print and television media were taken along with other pilgrims, the Lankan navy made it clear this time that only those who had obtained ‘visa’ would be permitted to visit the island and cover the festival.
The festival is scheduled for March 15 and 16.
The Verkodu Parish in Rameswaram, which coordinated the pilgrimage, had appealed to the Lankan authorities through the High Commission of India in Colombo to relax the restriction, but the High Commission, after checking with the authorities, clarified that “these are common formalities and they should be adhered to,” said Fr. L. Sagayaraj, Verkodu Parish Priest.
The Lankan navy, in a communication to the Parish, had said “the media and journalists are welcome to the festival, but they should apply formally for appropriate visa and then attend the festival.”
Enquiries revealed that only a few media persons have applied for the visa.
Meanwhile, about 1,300 pilgrims from different parts of Tamil Nadu and a few from Karnataka and Kerala have registered for the pilgrimage till Tuesday as the last date for the registration, said Fr.Sagayaraj.
Last year, 2,831 pilgrims had visited Katchatheevu in 77 mechanised boats and 23 vallams (country boats) and this year, only mechanized boats would be allowed to carry the pilgrims for safety reasons, he said.
So far, 45 mechanized boats have registered for the trip and 30 pilgrims could travel in each boat, apart from five crew members, he said.
On reaching the island around 3 p.m. on March 15, the pilgrims would attend the “way of the cross” procession followed by a holy mass and adoration conducted by a senior priest from Tamil Nadu, he said.
After attending the Feast mass and adoration, conducted by the Jaffna Parish Priest, the host on the morning of March 16, the pilgrims would return home, he added.
- the hindu
Tamil Nadu, September 17, 2012: The anti-nuke protesters brought water from the sea and cleaned the church in Idinthakarai village in Tamil Nadu that was desecrated by the police.
The protesters suspended their agitation against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant for a day on Saturday.
They had launched a water protest by jumping into the sea, just 500 metres away from the nuclear facility, and forming a human chain to protest fueling of uranium in one of the reactors of the plant.
The protesters claimed that the police entered the St. Lourdes Church in the village and desecrated the church and the statue of Mother Mary.
After the cleaning was completed, special adoration was conducted in the church,
The protesters refused to accept the body of A. Sahayaraj, who died Friday after sustaining head injury during the ‘jal satyagraha’ (non-violent water protest).
Even as the police filed a case of suspicious death, the protesters alleged that the victim, scared by an Indian Coast Guard aircraft flying at low-level, fell on a granite boulder and died.
They demanded registration of a murder case against the pilot.
“We’ll not accept the body till a murder case is registered against the pilot,” they said.
Mumbai, September 12, 2012: The president of the Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) condemns the acts of vandalism committed by police in Idinthakarai which exploded after (peaceful) antinuclear protests in Kudankulam. Police agents destroyed two statues of the Madonna and have urinated on them.
The desecration of a church is a “vulgar, thoughtless and shameful” act “even more unacceptable” when carried out by law enforcement officers, says Card. Oswald Gracias, President of the Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI). The cardinal condemns the acts of vandalism committed by police officers in the church of Our Lady of Lourdes in the village of Idinthakarai (Tamil Nadu), in violence that erupted during the protests against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.
Two days ago, a new peaceful demonstration to stop the construction of the plant turned into a nightmare for the local community. Police opened fire on the crowds to disperse them, killing a fisherman. A 6 year old girl lost her life, crushed by the fleeing crowd. Then, some agents raided Our Lady of Lourdes Church destroying two statues of the Virgin Mary, and urinating on them (see 11/09/2012, ” Police violence against antinuclear protesters: two dead and a church profaned “).
“The police – says Card. Gracias – has the duty to protect churches and places of worship, because all must be respected. Nothing can justify such an atrocious act. It is a mark on the secular credentials of India, which challenge our national conscience. ”
The local community – mostly Catholic and devoted to fishing – have been opposed to the construction of Kudankulam plant for several years. According to the people, it is not safe, and will have an impact on the environment dangerous for the lives and livelihoods of the inhabitants. For the authorities of Tamil Nadu, however, the system is safe and is the best way to make up for the energy shortage in the area. In addition, according to the government “hidden” foreign and Catholic NGOs are behind the protests, funding anti-nuclear activists. For this reason, last February the state froze the bank accounts of four NGOs, including the two headed by Msgr. Yvon Ambroise, Bishop of Tuticurin (epicenter of the protest, ed.)
The President of the CBCI points out: “The Catholic Church has always expressed solidarity with our brothers and sisters in need all over India. We reaffirm our commitment to ensure economic and social justice for our fellow citizens.” According to the cardinal, “true development safeguards the dignity of the human being. It is our duty to accept responsibility for each other, and the growth of India as a whole. At the same time, we must create conditions of justice and peace in which individuals and communities can truly flourish”.
Tamil Nadu, September 5, 2012: One Christian was killed and two seriously injured when Hindu extremists attacked church members at a prayer meeting before going on the rampage in an Indian village.
On 26 August, a mob of militants from the Hindu nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) came to a house in Sasthancode village, Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu state, where a prayer meeting was taking place. They began to smash the windows of cars that were parked outside the property.
Local Christian Gnanamuthu (50), who had organised the gathering at his home, came out with his son Johnson to try to stop them. But the pair were beaten with sticks by the militants and were taken to hospital with serious head injuries.
The mob then went on the rampage in the nearby village of Nadaikavu. They started smashing the windows of a shop, and when Edwin Raj (29), the son of the owner, tried to stop them, he was severely assaulted. He died on the way to hospital as a result of his injuries.
Edwin, Gnanamuthu and Johnson were members of the same church.
The police deployed 1,000 additional officers to patrol the area to stop the violence from spreading. A First Information Report, which launches a criminal investigation, was filed against the head of the local Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and six other men.
Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), condemned the attacks, warning that the situation in Kanyakumari District was “rapidly deteriorating.” He called upon the central government and Tamil Nadu authorities to take action.
The incident follows an attack on Christian women in the same district on 13 August. Orsilal (25) and Jhansi (22), two sisters, were talking outside their home in West Parasery village when, without provocation, neighbours started to harass them. The two young women went inside; around 15 men then forced their way into the property and beat the sisters and their 44-year-old mother. The attackers kicked the women, hit their heads against the wall and pulled their hair. The women were still recovering in hospital two weeks after the assault.
A local BJP member is also thought to have been behind this incident.
- barnabas team
TN: Pastors and believers beaten up in Kanyakumari *Cardinal Gracias: in midst of economic and social crisis, we remember St. Josemaria Escriva
Tamil Nadu, June 30, 2012: BJP and RSS activists numbering about 15 barged in to Bathel Paryer House at messavalar colony, Kanyakumari at 6 pm on 20th June 2012. The church is located in Kesavan Puthur village, Kanyakumari. The BJP & RSS activists destroyed the furniture and other church equipments and also beaten the believers and Pastors. Pastor Daveed 45 years and Assistant Pastor Babu, 38 years were admitted to the Thakkli Government hospital for 5 days and were discharged on 25th June 2008. Another believer was also admitted in the same hospital for two days.
The Pastor and believers have filed a complaint with Eathamozhi police station. The radical Hindu activists have also filed a false complaint that the Pastor has insulted Hindu god. The police have not taken any step to arrest the attackers till today. The attacks against Christian community in the state has been on the raise since the inception of the Government lead by Miss J Jayalalithaa.
Cardinal Gracias: in midst of economic and social crisis, we remember St. Josemaria Escriva
Mumbai, June 30, 2012: On the memorial of the founder of Opus Dei, the Archbishop of Mumbai reaffirms the importance of the universal call to holiness, preached by the Spanish priest. The Church and Christians in India must witness this holiness in their life and work.
The teachings of St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, a true “saint of our times”, are “more urgent” than ever in these times of economic and social crisis, said card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), commemorating the founder of Opus Dei on June 26, his liturgical memorial. For the occasion, the cardinal celebrated Mass in the church of S. Andrea in Bandra (Mumbai).
Canonized by Pope John Paul II October 6, 2002, the Spanish priest founded the Personal Prelature of Opus Dei in 1928. St. Josemaria Escriva preached the universal call to holiness, affirming the importance of work as a means of personal holiness and apostolate, when lived in union with Christ.
According to Card. Gracias, the priest’s teaching on the sanctification of the work is now “urgent” to “bring honesty into public life” so that ” ethics, morality and values return to center stage.” In fact, “the proper functioning of the global economy requires fundamental values and a common code of ethics, founded on faith and reason. And the call to holiness and apostolate to the testimony of the Gospel, is the call of every Christian.”
In India, where Christians are a minority of just 2.3% (and Catholics are only 1, 8%), the teachings of the saint are even more fundamental. “Living in a non-Christian society – said the cardinal – requires us to witness this holiness every day with our lives. We are called to have a structured and mature faith: this is the priority of the Church in India”.
Tamil Nadu, June 26, 2012: The predominantly Christian village of Vanagiri Menvar was assalted; homes and places of worship burnt. The toll is one dead and over 15 injured. Most of the refugee population is still in the woods surrounding the village. This is the fifth attack since 2012.
One dead, over 15 injured, houses looted and burned: this is the toll of the attack made by a group of Hindu extremists against the Christian Protestant community of Vanagiri Menavar, in Nagapattinam district (Tamil Nadu). The assault occurred on June 23 and is the fifth since the start of 2012. 30 Christian and 10 Hindu families live in the town. Sajan K George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) denounces an increase in violence against the Christians of Tamil Nadu. Three of the five attacks occurred in April alone.
The tensions erupted on June 21 when a mob of Hindu extremists from the Bharathia Janatha Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) went to Vanagiri Menavar and ordered the Hindu population to boycott the Christians, impeding them from praying and going to Mass. The extremists had already visited the village in May with the same demands. To avoid clashes, the local authorities on June 23 organized a meeting of reconciliation between the two communities. The meeting also involved Thiru KA Jayapal, Minister of Fisheries, who however failed to convince the extremists to leave the village. In the evening, the Hindus attacked Christian homes with swords and sticks, burnt and plundered four buildings, forcing the population to flee. 15 people were injured in the clash, including two in critical condition. After the assault, the remaining families in the village contacted the police station of Poompuhar, which, however, refused to cooperate, forcing Christians to go to the authorities of the district of Nagapattinam. These authorities allowed them to file a complaint, but did not initiate an investigation, leaving the authors of the act unpunished.
On June 24, Mahalingam, one of the wounded Christians, was found dead in the hospital in unclear circumstances. According to his son Rajendran, who was also hospitalized, the man was in bed and in stable conditions, and would have been killed by extremists. The news triggered panic and the few families still living in Vanagiri Menavar fled and still today are camped out a few kilometers from the village.
In 2012, Hindu extremists have intensified their attacks against the Christian minority in Tamil Nadu. On April 11 in the city of Emapur in Villupuram district, a group of radicals beat up a Protestant pastor. On April 21 in Paganeri (Shivagangai), a crowd of 100 activists of the BJP attacked 15 Christians, beating them senseless and seizing their Bibles and other missionary materials. The most recent incident occurred on April 30 in the village of Banglawmedu. After a complaint by some extremists, the local police raided a Protestant church, accusing V. Neethirajan, the minister responsible for the community, of proselytism. The man was holding a three-day Bible course for a few village children, including some of the Hindu religion. To intimidate him, the agents and extremists devastated the classroom and forced the students to go out.