Sangh Pariwar steps up protest against Prayer- Healing Centres

published on May 23, 2008

Courtesy:Daily Pioneer

Thiruvananthapuram: Protest marches to the facilities of Swargeeya Virunnu (Heavenly Feast), the Christian prayer-healing movement run by two ‘brothers’ in Kottayam and Thiruvananthapuram on Friday morning, led to tension even as various probe agencies intensified their investigations into financial deals by godmen in the State.

Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha workers took out a march to the facility of Swargeeya Viurunnu in the capital, run by Brother Thanku (Mathew Kuruvila) and Brother Thomas Kutty on Friday morning. The ‘brothers’ had started a prayer-healing session at the Putharikkandam grounds on Thursday amidst protests by Shiv Sena and Sangh Parivar outfits.

During Friday’s protest, the marchers who started their demonstration to the Swargeeeya Vriunnu centre, at the Government Ayurveda College Junction destroyed the flux boards erected by the prayer-healers to advertise Thursday’s session between that point and Pazhavangadi junction where the police blocked the marchers.

The Yuva Morcha held a march towards the headquarters of Swargeeya Virunnu at Nagambadam, Kottayam on Friday, and the protest created some tension after the marchers tried to manhandle a video-cameraman allegedly posted by Brother Thanku. The protestors alleged that the ‘brother’ had engaged four cameramen to videograph the march. Reports said that three cameramen among the hordes of television channel crew had disappeared after the fourth was manhandled by the marchers.

The Income Tax Department, Intelligence and other probe agencies had launched an investigation into the huge assets the ‘brothers’, especially Thanku, had amassed. It was in this context the Yuva Morcha and Shiv Sena held marches towards Swargeeya Virunnu.

The prayer-healing centre offers special weekly sessions on Fridays and it was during such a session that the protest march was led to the facility in Kottayam. An altercation with police personnel took place after they blocked the protestors from marching to the venue of the prayer session.

People of Kottayam say that Swargeeya Virunnu is a front put up by Brother Thanku for making money through unholy means, which could get legal protection through loopholes in the rules.

But Brother Thanku denies the allegations and says that he has been remitting income tax regularly. Still, Income Tax officials say that the source of his income is not yet clear.

People of Kottayam say that Brother Thanku is the same Mathew Kuruvila who had years back left India after his chit funds company had crashed. He came back to work as a prayer-healer and since then his financial growth was surprising, they say. In this process, he became Dr Kuruvila, they say. Boxes for depositing contributions have been arranged in his prayer centres.

Legal experts say that the functioning of the facility of the ‘brothers’ itself is illegal. They point out that prayer-healing is illegal as the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act of 1954 had banned such sessions.

The ‘brothers’ had issued huge advertisements through newspapers on the session that started in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday. In these advertisements, at least 20 persons, including women, had explained their unbelievable experience by certifying that they had attained cure by attending their healing sessions.


At the same time, BJP workers held a march towards Shanti
Bhavan, the abode of Christian missionary Fr Martin George near the GovernmentMedicalCollege, Kozhikode,
alleging amassment of illegal funds by him. The party had held the protest
saying that the sources of the income of this priest, who lived without the
customary arrangements associated with ChristianChurches,
were not clear.

Fr George, belonging to a Belgian sect of Christianity, is running an old age
home at the Shanti Bhavan, whose director is he himself. This institution also
owns several schools. A local BJP leader said that the sources of income of
this friar were suspect. He added that a man like Fr George would not have
amassed such properties without suspect sources of income.

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