Church Sex Scandal and Meesha Row: CPM Government's Double Standards Stand Exposed
It is almost forty days since the allegation of rape was raised against the Jalandhar Bishop by a nun but still the CPM government is in a denial mode. When Hindu society objected to certain derogatory references to temple going women in a mediocre novel, the Kerala government came to the author’s rescue, told the publishers to go ahead with their task
Bishop Franco Greets Kerala Chief Minister Vijayan
“Give me courage to resist, patience to suffer, and constancy of persevere. Give me, instead of all worldly consolations, the most delightful unction of your spirit, and, in the place of carnal love, infuse into my heart the love of your Name. This is Thomas A Kempis praying to Jesus Christ (The Imitation of Christ, Book III, Chapter 26). But what is the present situation? We find the halo of Church fading as a result of sexual allegations against the clergy getting exposed through the media every day. And India is no exception!
The question as to how to deal with this menace is not my headache. What worries me is the ‘go-slow’ attitude pursued by the Leftist government of Kerala in dealing with such matters.
It is almost forty days since the allegation of rape was raised against the Jalandhar Bishop, Franco Mulakkal, by a nun, who, according to Christian belief, is the bride of Jesus Christ. Time and again, the Pinarayi Vijayan government says that there is ample evidence against the bishop. But, we also hear that the police are awaiting a meeting with the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro or his secretary, before proceeding against the bishop. Is it that the Kerala government is under the illusion that the Christian clergy in India enjoys diplomatic immunity! Or else, what is the need for the police to consult or take into confidence the Apostolic Nuncio before proceeding against or arresting a bishop, who has been accused of raping a nun?
It was in March 2018, the Kuttanad loan scam, involving Fr. Thomas Peeliyanikkal came to light. But it took the Kerala police three months to arrest him. According to the police version, as reported in the media, the Fr. was not ‘traceable!’ But the Fr. almost immediately challenged the police version and made it clear that he had been available at the office of the Samithi on all days.
Here, the state government has the inevitable responsibility to come out with a plausible reason to defend the delay in these and such other cases involving the minority communities.
When the Kanchi Acharya was put in jail by the Jayalalithaa government, accusing him of involvement in a murder case, on the eve of Deepavali, in November 2004, the then Central Minister Pranab Mukherjee had to argue strongly in the Cabinet that, if Indian secularism did not leave scope for the arrest of a Muslim cleric before Eid, the same should apply to Hindu clerics too, before the Acharya was released on bail. If at all it were in Kerala now, what would have been the fate of the Acharya, is anybody’s guess. The Leftist government, in all probability, would have incarcerated the Acharya with lightning speed and redoubled vigour, compared Ms Jayalalithaa.
The other day, may be due to ignorance, the National Commission of Women, on a visit to Kerala, said that the practice of “Confession” should be abolished. The Central Minority Commission Chairman and the Central Minister Alphonse Kannanthanam lost no time in making it unequivocally clear that the views expressed by the Women’s Commission was untenable and in no way reflected the thinking of the Central government. But, not only the secular brigade, even the Christian organisations and the media in the state, celebrated the ‘event’ with all delight to create the impression the Central government is intolerant. At the same time, the Church has been showing reluctance to defend the victims of the sexual onslaught by the members of the clergy and showing over enthusiasm to defend the tainted people. Why?
When some people objected to certain derogatory references to temple going women in a mediocre novel, “Meesha,’ written by one S. Hareesh, and approached the court to get the objectionable portions deleted, the Kerala government came to the author’s rescue, by asking the publishers of his book to go ahead with their task.
A Christian management college in Wayanad district in Kerala has denied permission to publish the college Magazine, ‘Vayattati’ (midwife), containing a four-line poem starting with the line “When the priest become the father of a child,” with reference to an incident in which a Christian priest has been arrested allegedly for raping a 16-year-old girl. The students are hell-bent on bringing out the magazine in as is the condition.
Now, the moot point is, whether the Kerala government as well as the Malayalam writers, including big guns like M. Mukundan, K.Satchitanandan, Anita Nair, K.Meera, who have been in the forefront to defend the author of “Meesha’ in the name of freedom of expression, would fight to defend the students’ freedom of expression or side with the college authorities. Most likely, they will either keep quiet or side with the college management, the safest options! When in 2010, members of an extremist Islamic group chopped off the hand of a college professor for allegedly setting a grammar question in a fashion derogatory to Islam, if I am remembering correctly, none of the above luminaries of Malayalam literature had uttered even a single a word in defence of the hapless professor.