The coastal districts along southern Tamil Nadu and southern Kerala have been turned into a battle zone by the Catholic Church following the Cyclone Ockhi which caused severe devastation along some of the fishing hamlets in the region. While mainline political parties in both the States are conspicuous by their absence in the battle fronts, it is the Church which is aiding and abetting the intensity of the agitation. Their ire is directed towards the Central Government, which they allege is deaf towards the sufferings of the fishermen who went for deep sea fishing in spite of the hourly bulletins issued by the Indian Meteorological Department.
The Catholic Church and some other sects of the Church are annoyed with the Central Government following the curbs enforced on foreign funds they were getting for evangelization.
Intelligence agencies in both Tamil Nadu and Kerala confided to Team PGurus that the agitation is a ploy to consolidate the Christian votes and polarise the community against the Narendra Modi government at the Centre. The Lok Sabha election is hardly one year away and the present agitation is a prelude to the action plan drawn out by the Church officials in close coordination with community leaders like MG Devasahayam, a Catholic leader who is also a former IAS officer.
The Pioneer, a national daily published from New Delhi has quoted Devasahayam as telling that the Narendra Modi government is a total failure in all respects. The Central government and the National Disaster Management Authority let the fishermen down when the poor fishers were fighting against nature’s fury in the high seas,” Devasahayam has been quoted by the daily.
The allegations by Devasahayam, a Christian fundamentalist, comes at a time when the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, and other agencies are engaged in 24X7 rescue and relief operations. They are tracing the missing fishermen from far away places like Veraval in Gujarat, Karwar in Karnataka, Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, Kochi and Kollam in Kerala and even from Andaman And Nicobar islands. The Coast Guard is issuing press releases daily about the work they have done and the details of fishermen they had saved.
The protest march held by the fisherfolk on Monday at Trivandrum under the leadership of Soosa Pakiam, an archbishop, to highlight the woes of the fishermen has caught media attention. Soosa Pakiam and the demonstrators held the protest march in front of the Raj Bhavan carrying a “coffin”, as a mark of symbolic representation of the ‘heavy loss of lives’ suffered by the Catholic community. Though the Kanyakumari fishermen claim that 82 of their colleagues lost their lives, till Tuesday, what they could get were 3 dead bodies!
“The deep sea is full of dead bodies of the fishers who were carried away by the high waves,” said Devasahayam who claims to have toured all the coastal villages. He alleged that the officials of the Navy and Coast Guard are not capable of saving the fishermen or tracing the dead bodies.
Interestingly, Soosa Pakiam and Devasahayam are silent about the CPI-M and Maoists in their criticism. They are all praise for Pinarayi Vijayan, the Kerala Chief Minister who was chased away from one of the coastal villages by the agitating fisherfolk. Pakiam and Devasahayam are trying hard to convince the fisherfolk that Cyclone Ockhi was a handiwork of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the RSS.
Ramakrishnan Gauthaman, director, Vedic Science Research Centre, who toured the fishing hamlets to take stock of the situation following the cyclone said that the agitation being staged in Kanyakumari under the auspices of the Catholic Church is a show business being held with the 2019 Parliament election in mind. “The last mile agency connecting the fisherfolk and the Indian Meteorological Department did not do their work properly. This is an attempt to mobilize the people against the Centre like what we saw during the Jallikkattu agitation in Marina Beach and the Neduvasal ONGC gas extraction project. The Maoists, Muslim fanatics, and the Church were the main driving force behind the agitation,” said Gauthaman.
The banners carried by the agitators at Kanyakumari were deplorable and condemnable, said BJP’s national secretary H Raja. “The banners had the caption Tearful Homages to Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Would they have done the same thing had it been a Congress Prime Minister?” asked Raja. He said the Catholic Church has a hidden agenda in Tamil Nadu as well as in Kerala.
Intelligence officials told Team PGurus that the whole process smacks of secessionism and evangelization. “The crowd which was seen at Koodankulam nuclear power plant agitation has come to Kanyakumari to raise slogans against the Central government,” said a senior official. There are reports that many fishermen might have gone hiding in nearby islets and remain incommunicado to claim the compensation package to be announced by the State and Central Governments.
The Catholic Church and some other sects of the Church are annoyed with the Central Government following the curbs enforced on foreign funds they were getting for evangelization. This resulted in the open declaration by the Tamil Nadu Bishops Council Chairman Archbishop Antony Pappusamy that Christians in Tamil Nadu should vote only for the DMK-Congress combine and never vote for the BJP or AIADMK candidates during the 2016 assembly election.
A letter written by Tamil Nadu Bishops Council to the voters of Tamil Nadu is shown below in Figure 1.
Interestingly, the same Devasahayam had come out in support of the Bishop when the BJP leaders in Tamil Nadu questioned the propriety of such a directive by the Church at the time of the election.
The same pattern was observed during the ongoing Gujarat assembly election when Gandhinagar Bishop Makwan asking the laity to defeat the Nationalists. It should be noted that not a single “secular, liberal, Communist” leader has dared to question the open violation of Election Code by the Christian priests. Dr. Subramanian Swamy MP was the only politician who criticised the Bishop’s Council for their directive to the laity.
Imagine what would have happened had His Holiness Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Pontiff Jayendra Saraswathi or Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had asked all the Hindus to vote for the BJP!
The coming days will see a lot of activism by the Church, mainly the Catholic and Pentecostal Missions issuing directives to the laity not to vote for the fronts in which the BJP is the lead partner. The fishermen agitation seen at Kanyakumari and Kerala are the preludes to the kind of things in store.
. Tamil Nadu election: Bishops council decides to back DMK alliance, May 3, 2016, Times Of India