–> T.S. Venkatesan
Child Welfare Committee (CWC) member Isabel Richardson was arrested and a search is on to nab her brother accused of raping two women including a15 year old girl in a shelter home in Sembiam near Chennai.
Police said 56 years old Isabel Richardson was the executive secretary of Madras Christian Council of Social Services (MCCSS) where the victims were staying. The home shelters women and children rescued from trafficking and sexual abuse. Presently there are over 130 persons of all age groups in the home. Isabel Richardson was picked up from her house in Thiruvottiyur and remanded in judicial custody. Her 51 years old brother Bennet Richardson, who had been in Puducherry for many years, joined the home as a caretaker with the help of his sister Isabel last year. It is learnt that he was asked to go out of the home last year due to sexual assault charges but he returned to home again in June. He continued to stay in the home. Bennet was sacked as he had violated council rules.
According to sources, “ on July 28, a 20 year old girl had complained to MCCSS members that Bennet misbehaved with her as well a 15 year old girl. The woman who already been sexually assaulted by her uncle and sheltered at the home for rehabilitation. The internal committee of MCCSS held inquiries and found out that Bennet had raped the girls. The Committee recommended suspension of Isabel who sought two weeks’ time to resign. Meanwhile Bennet was allegedly sent to Puducherry by her.
Isabel was running the home for the past 15 years, while the members are changed once every three years. Isabel resigned from MCCSS on 9th August, all vital documents in her home were destroyed. Only CCTV footage for last six days are available while several digital documents have been wiped out”. The internal committee did not initial complaint did not name Isabel and Bennet. But a complaint from the CWC member including Isabel and charging Bennet for rape was taken by the All Women Police station. Police said Bennet has been booked under sections of the POSCO act and IPC. A hunt is on to arrest the absconding Bennet.
Meanwhile, a PIL petition has been filed in Madras High Court alleging discrimination in the Catholic hierarchy for not providing equitable representation to Dalits for appointment as Bishops. M Anbarasan, a resident of Srivilliputhur in Virudhunagar in his petition sought directions from the court to the Centre and Tamil Nadu governments to prevent such discrimination.
He said that more than 60 percent of the Catholic population in the state and neighbouring union territory Puducherry are from Dalit community. But they are not given equal representation in appointment of Bishops. They have been demanding this for a long time. Catholic hierarchy talks about promotion of dalit equality in society which is the prime reason for their conversion activities, the same is not being followed. The petitioner said the foremost thing which could be done to promote such equality is to consecrate dalits as Bishops”. He also said that out of 170 bishops in the country, there are only 11 Dalit bishops.
Similarly, in Tamil Nadu only one dalit bishop is appointed out of the total 18 dioceses. The petitioner alleged that in churches, Dalits are given separate seats. Even after death, Dalits are given separate cemeteries for dead person from their community. The state and Central government should have taken action against such blatant discrimination.
A division bench of justices M Duraiswamy and K Murali Shankar ordered notice to the Centre, state governments, Apostolic Nuncio to India and Tamil Nadu Bishops Council. DMK, DK, VCK, left and other secular political parties did not open their mouth against the discriminatory practices of Christians. But they want all caste people become priests in Hindu temples that is the irony.
In a related development, a division bench of Justices M Duraiswamy and K Muralisankar allowed the polls slated for 16th August duly following the Covid social distancing norms. PIL petitioner said the Thoothukudi – Nazareth CSI diocese would spread the Covid 19 as large number of people are expected to attend. It should be postponed till the Covil lock down norms are relaxed. The polls are to be held from August to October in several phases. The judges in their directions allowed the polls with certain conditions. The district police superintendent should ensure the peaceful conduct of the poll and following social distancing norms.
It is pertinent to mention here, in May this year, more than 100 Church of South India (CSI) priests were reportedly infected with Covid-19 after they attended the annual retreat at Munnar. The annual retreat, a conference of priests and community members, was held from April 13 to 17 at CSI Christ Church in Munnar. As many as 350 priests from various churches attended the meet.
Sources said the retreat was held despite requests to postpone the event, and the priests were warned of disciplinary action if they failed to attend. The priests had travelled to Munnar from LMS Church in Thiruvananthapuram in a bus.
In Tamil Nadu the state government has been allowing the festivals of minorities without any restrictions which privilege was not extended to Hindu temples or Hindu festivals. Even Pinda or Thila Dharpan on Shravana Ammavasai ( new moon) day was banned in Ghats of holy rivers and temple tanks.
According to news reports thanks to the minority status and exemption from providing 25 reservation in admission to wards of weaker sections as mandated by the Right to Education Act (RTE) at primary level in un-aided schools , over 13,000 schools in Bharat run by Christian organization.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has been trying to bring minority institutions under the ambit of RTE act. In its report, it said, 12,904 Christian minority schools spread across the nation and the schools earn Rs. 10,022.89 crores from the students. Christian schools have 74.01 percent of the student population belonging to the non-Christian community and in several states this figure is as high as 80 percent.
That means they cater to less than 8 percent of the minority population. In Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, such schools cater to more than 30 per cent of the minority students.