Why Christian MLA Selvaraj resigned? – Behind the curtain story

published on May 3, 2012

Thiruvananthapuram: It is now confirmed- the scheming designs behind the untimely resignation of the MLA from Neyyantinkara, R Selvaraj are nothing but those of the Catholic body. The confidential and clandestine meeting that was held between Chief Minister Oomen Chandy and the 5 senior Bishops of Neyyatinkara has been the sole cause of Selvaraj’s resignation. It has also been gathered that the Chief Minister has extended the promise that all who convert to the Latin Catholic community will be granted special privileges. Following this, the Catholic body gave their assurance regarding something: that Selvaraj will be made to submit his resignation, following which the resignation was indeed tendered.

A word in detail about Selvaraj: he happens to be a member of the Latin Catholic of diocese of Neyyatinkara. Various Christian communities have numerous members of the Nadar community that has witnessed large scale conversion. However, a majority of the Nadars who have converted to Latin Catholic community are not eligible for any kind of special privileges. This is because the decree passed by the government states clearly that only those who converted into Latin Catholics before 1947 are eligible for concessions. Recent times saw a spate of conversions take place from other Christian communities and Hindu Nadar communities into the Latin Catholic community. Amongst these, many were converted with forged documents with government compliance. When members of the Nadar community do not quote their original caste while applying for ‘caste certificate’, they obtain the Latin Catholic certificate from village offices. The document that is being furnished as proof when asked for by village officers is the letter provided by Bishop of Neyyatinkara. This is taking place, when the government has issued stringent orders never to resort to any written document from any community leadership or religious body for obtaining a caste certificate. In fact many organizations including Hindu Aikya Vedi have protested against the issuing of these fake certificates.

However, in spite of obtaining the fake certificates and converting members from other divisions of Christianity into the Latin Catholic segment, they were not eligible for  reservation benefits owing to the standing government orders. This led to a mini uprising of those who converted, against the Catholic body. In between, VSDP that was constituted with the aim of organizing all the divisions of Nadars gathered strength. Scores of Nadars, who had converted to Christianity joined VSDP and proclaimed their avowed support. This led to the waning of strength earlier displayed by the Latin Catholic community, which used to project the votes obtained from Nadar community for any kind of bargain.

Bargaining capacity of Latin Catholics by showcasing Nadar votes has reduced in recent years. It was in this juncture that the clandestine meeting between the Catholic body comprising of 5 Bishops and Oomen Chandy took place. The resignation of Selvaraj following the meeting and the subsequent promise extracted by them from Oomen Chandy in declaring concessions for all who have converted to Latin Catholics post 1947 stands well known all over. It has been in lieu of the promise made by Oomen Chandy that Selvaraj was made to resign, following the instructions given by the Bishops.

Following the resignation of Selvaraj, Union Minister KV Thomas had paid a visit to the Bishop house and soon followed the repeal of the law that forbade concessions for all Latin Catholic converts post 1947. The other demands put forth by the Catholic segment were the stronghold of Latin Catholic Church, with the declaration of South Kurishumala as a pilgrim centre, a medical college and casting Selvaraj as a UDF candidate. Oomen Chandy is supposed to have nodded his consent for both matters. With the aid of government machinery, the resignation of Selvaraj has added more strength to the mass conversion that is taking place from the Nadar community to the Catholic segment.

It is the village officers who are to grant caste certificate. However, the furnishing of a letter from a Latin Catholic Bishop as document for obtaining caste certificate now stands valid, thanks to our government machinery.

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