TN Bishops’ Council on Central Government’s action *Government of India harassing Christians

March 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Issues, National, newsletter-lead, Tamil Nadu

bishop_yvon_ambroseTamil Nadu, March 8, 2012: We, the members of the Tamilnadu Bishops’ Council are shocked to hear that the UPA Government at the Centre headed by Congress Party sent an order on 9.2.2012 blocking the FCRA number given to “Tuticorin Diocesan Association” and froze its Bank Account; it is also making additional enquires on the “Tuticorin Multi-Purpose Social Service society.” Apart from that the Home Minister has told the media that the Home Department has directed the CBI and the Tamilnadu Government to register cases against the Diocese of Tuticorin.

It is open secret that the Central Government is taking these actions against the Diocese of Tuticorin and other Christian NGOs, in the wake of the debate and dispute on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. This Power Plant is located in a village where Christians form the majority. The people are agitating not because they are Christians but because this Plant is situated in their village. The Hindus and Muslims who live in that village also are agitating. Recently 217 Hindu women marched to the local Pillaiyar Temple carrying pots of milk (Pal Kudam) to seek divine intervention to stop the project. They are not in any way connected with the Church. Hence, it is false to say that Christians alone are objecting to this project and they are against public interest and national development. At the same time the Church also cannot pressurize its people to give up their agitation, just because they are Christians. The problem has to be resolved by the Government vis-à-vis the citizens.

Having said that, we would like to state, that since the nuclear project has made the people insecure with regard to their life and livelihood, the Church is only extending its solidarity to them in their hour of anxiety! This is our only moral involvement with the people. If the Government is able to convince them and allay their fears the Church in no way will stand against any decision.

We are certainly pained with the action of the Government which is trying to mislead the entire Country giving an impression that the Church is against the national and public interest, playing into the hands of foreign powers by simply stating that the “Tuticorin Diocesan Association” has “diverted” foreign funds without clearly stating who the funds are diverted to.  It is sheer innuendo and slander. We strongly condemn these kinds of accusations and deny the allegations.

We, Christians have always been law abiding citizens and have always worked for the development of the nation and the uplift of the poor, particularly in the field of education, social welfare, health, and so on for decades. All the political leaders, irrespective of party affiliation, have never ceased appreciating our work in these fields. The Church has enormously contributed to nation building and it is an undisputed history. We feel that the UPA Government is out to persecute a Community that has a proven record of service and we are sorry to say that it threatens our very existence as a minority community.

The Tutiocrin Diocese has a track record of 90 years of service to the people. The “Tuticorin Diocesan Association” is not an organization of some individuals but a substantial representative organ of 4,50,000 Catholics of the Diocese of Tuticorin. Apart from its legal nature of a registered NGO, it stands on a different footing by socially representing a particular minority community. By no stretch of imagination, can anyone accuse the said Tuticorin Diocese of working against public interest or indeed against national interest.

We request you to please see that due to an unjust action taken by the Central Government, the services rendered by 230 educational institutions under which 2100 teaching and non-teaching staff and 2,00,000 students benefit; by 3 hospitals and 18 dispensaries under which 300 villages and thousands of people benefit; by 13 Charity Institutions under which 1200 people benefit; the well-being of the children especially the orphans, the disabled, the old-aged, the mentally retarded, the abandoned infants have all received a fatal blow. The government’s unprecedented action has hit their day-today survival and sustenance. Does the government expect these children to die of hunger and starvation? Besides, the developmental, relief and rehabilitation services and the pastoral and religious services are at stake.

In the electoral politics too we Christians have been supporting the secular parties for years but are pained to see the secular Congress party’s attitude towards those who have supported it. The action taken by the Central Government which is headed by the Congress Party is an attack on the minorities especially the Christian minority. Though Congress Party boasts itself of protecting the minorities and working for their development it now harasses the Christian minority and has begun to target its NGOs. When thousands of NGOs belonging to different religions and groups are functioning in the Country why we only have been targeted. Is it not a clear political vendetta and pressure tactics, a victimization that we never dreamt of in our wildest dreams from Congress led secular UPA Government. There is a process of vilification going on by some forces to project the Christian community as if it is anti-national working against public interest. This process has not only tarnished the image of the Christians but has greatly pained the Christian Community.

Therefore we request the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India to stop harassing the Christian minority and withdraw the negative injunctions issued in lieu of the Tuticorin Diocese and grant appropriate relief to the Christian Community.

We request also the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamilnadu to intervene in this matter with the Central Government and bring solace to the affected Christian Community as a mother would do to her children.
+ Most Rev. Dr. A.M. Chinnappa D.D., S.D.B.

Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore,

President of Tamilnadu Bishops’ Council

Government of India harassing Christians’: TN Bishop Council


A.M. Chinnappa, Archbishop of Madras Mylapore and President of Tamil Nadu Bishops' CouncilTamil Nadu, March 8, 2012: As the Centre launched crackdown on some NGOs for allegedly fuelling protests over Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, Christian leaders Thursday said government should stop harassing the Christian minority and withdraw “negative injunctions”. “We request the Prime Minister to stop harassing the Christian minority and withdraw negative injunctions issued in lieu of Tuticorin Diocese and grant appropriate relief,” A.M. Chinnappa, Archbishop of Madras Mylapore and President of Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council informed.

Home Ministry officials had frozen the bank account of ‘Tuticorin Diocesan Association’ on February 9, after they raided its premises between January 11 and 13. Denying Centre’s allegations, he said they were pained with the action of the government which is “trying to mislead the country giving an impression that the Church is against the national and public interest, playing into the hands of foreign powers.” “It is sheer innuendo and slander,” he said.

Defending the Church’s association with protestors against Kudankulam Plant, he said it was “the moral involvement with the people and if the government is able to convince the people and allay the fears, the Church in no way will stand against any decision.”

Talking to reporters, Bishop of Tuticorin Diocese Yvon Ambrose said, “… When my people suffer, as a Bishop I am with them. Because I am in sympathy with them, you cannot say I am inciting….” “We are unable to understand why government is implicating me personally and the Diocese, as if we are the principal instigators. ..All religions are involved in it. Why only Christian community should be targetted we don’t understand..,” he said. Home Minister P. Chidambaram had said in Delhi recently cases had been filed against four NGOs after it was found prima facie that they were involved in diversion of foreign funds from the purpose for which they were received.


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