Pay back time for CPM’s appeasement -Church to ban pro-Left organizations in their Schools

published on June 20, 2010

Yet another Church offensive against Left

VR Jayaraj | Kochi – Daily Pioneer

The Catholic Church in Kerala has launched yet another offensive against the Left by announcing that pro-Left organizations of teachers could not be allowed in Church-managed educational institutions. Leftists say that the move will lead to communal polarization in the educational sector.

An article published in the June issue of the monthly publication of the Thamarassery Diocese of the Catholic Church says that teachers working in Church-managed educational institutions are duty-bound to uphold the interests of the Christian-management as their appointments have been made as per the special stipulations pertaining to rights of minority institutions.

Bishop Remigiose Inchananckal of the Thamarassery Diocese says in the article that the teachers in minorities-run institutions are also receiving special benefits. Such teachers have the responsibility to protect minorities rights and they should not work for Leftist organizations with ideologies that contradict the Church’s beliefs and ideals, the article says. It also indicates that such stipulations are applicable in the case of teachers from religions other than Christianity.

Pro-CPI(M) Kerala State Teachers’ Association responded sharply to the article saying such moves would only lead to communal polarization in the educational sector. According to AK Unnikrishnan, State vice-president of the KSTA, the Church had no legal right to put forward such stipulations. “Teachers are not appointed as per minorities rights standards in minorities-run or public educational institutions. They are appointed as per general rules,” he said.

Responding to the suggestions, a senior CPI(M) leader joked: “Why doesn’t the Church ask for creation of their sovereign territories within the State? It seems that is what they want.” He said minorities rights “as enshrined in the Constitution are not the rights to deny others’ rights”. These rights were meant for the protection of the minorities and their interests for the harmonious existence of the different religious sections, he added.

The Church had floated a new organization exclusively for teachers belonging to the religion named the Christian Teachers’ Guild two years ago. Also, Inter-Church Council for Education chairman Mar Joseph Powathil had some months ago triggered a controversy with his statement that Christian parents should ensure that their children studied in Church-managed schools and colleges.

The standoff between the Christian Church, which had supported the LDF in the last Assembly election, and the Left had originated in the Thamarassery Diocese in the beginning of 2007 with State CPI(M) secretary Pinarayi Vijayan terming then Bishop Mar Paul Chittilappally a ‘disgusting creature’. This, coupled with the problems in the self-financing professional colleges sector, had distanced the Church from the Left.

Meanwhile, National Minorities Commission member Syriac Thomas visited Church-run CMS College, Kottayam, where pro-CPI(M) students outfit SFI went on the rampage during their agitation against the expulsion of a student on Thursday. Terming the incident as unfortunate, he said the commission would seek an explanation from the LDF Government if any complaint was received from the college management.

The Catholic Bishops’ Council of India (CBCI) said the LDF Government in Kerala had become totally inactive. The Government, which had the responsibility of preventing violence, had withdrawn from that, the CBCI told the media in Delhi. At the same time, believers and priests observed fast and held a demonstration in Kottayam town to protest against the SFI-sponsored violence at the college.

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