DMK agrees to fulfil demands of CSI church

May 5, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Chennai, May 4, 2016: The Church of South India (CSI) has decided to support the DMK in the upcoming Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, after the latter agreed to fulfil the demands of the CSI community.

The demands include an assembly resolution to bring dalit Christians under the Scheduled Caste category, a government order to include converted Christians from MBC communities in their caste, government pay for teachers working in minority institutions appointed after 1990 (a demand earlier agreed by the DMK), at least 10% seats for Christian minorities to contest in elections, revocation of the property tax levied on minority institutions, protection from harassment by communal forces, and an immediate ban on liquor.

Informed sources said the council’s decision came after a series of meetings in April. First, there were diocese-level meetings where local bishops collected opinions from the laity. The council then met in Madurai to review the opinion of various dioceses. The bishops council also had an ecumenical meeting with the CSI church to discuss their political stand.

“The DMK approached the council seeking its support and agreed to fulfil the demands of the church,” said a priest from the Madurai archdiocese. On Tuesday, the Madurai archbishop and DMK leader M Karunanidhi, who was campaigning in Madurai, met and reached an agreement, he said.

The church has often taken a political stand during the elections. During the last parliamentary elections, the Catholic diocese of Kottar advised the community to vote for secular parties. When the spectrum scam and Eelam war became an issue in the 2011 assembly elections, the Tamil Nadu Bishop Council took a neutral stand and decided not to support any party and left the decision to the community to vote for secular parties.

Bishop Ezra Sargunam of the Evangelical Church of India has been openly supporting the DMK for long. On Tuesday’s public meeting, he shared the dais with Karunanidhi.

The Latin Rite is biggest Christian denomination in the state, with 15 dioceses and two archdioceses in Chennai and Madurai. The CSI is next biggest, with eight dioceses. A majority of the Christians in the state come under the Catholic and CSI churches.

– times of india

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