Opinion : Probe the funds received by Church
The recent comment by Supreme Court judge Shri HL Dattu that ‘most churches get funds from foreign governments’ has far reaching implications. Justice Dattu made this observation while hearing a petition filed by Archbishop Raphal Cheenath regarding Kandhamal riots of 2007-08. Archbishop’s counsel, Colin Gonsalves, argued that the Supreme Court should direct the State government to provide funds for rebuilding the churches and religious structures ‘razed to the ground’ during violence.
On it Justice Dattu commented, “You get lot of money for churches. You can build them. Most of the churches do get funds from foreign governments. We first want to give these poor people (victims), who died some money.” The court cautioned that the State should not bankrupt itself in doling out the compensation. “We should understand the economy of the State government. By passing orders, we should not make the State government bankrupt,” said Justice Dattu, who heads a three-judge bench comprising of Justices RK Agrawal and Arun Mishra.
If we go through the facts of Kandhamal riots and also the sequence of incidents the unholy nexus between so-called peace loving Church and Naxalites stands exposed. On Durga Puja site, the Christians installed a Christmas Arch on December 24 in Brahmanigaon town of Kandhamal. When the locals objected to it the Christians became violent and Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was brutally attacked. Swamiji had stated that he had left for Brahmanigaon, his car was blocked by a bus belonging to Sugriba Singh, Panna Christian leader and BJD Lok Sabha Member, and he was attacked on the spot injuring him, his driver and a security guard. In his statement, Swamiji had blamed Radha Kanta Nayak, Congress Rajya Sabha Member and chief of the Christian group, World Vision.
In the meantime, Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda issued warning to Swamiji saying not to indulge in anti-Christian activities. But Swamiji continued his work for the uplift of local people. In the evening of August 23, 2008, the Janmashtami day, Swamiji was murdered at his Jalespata Ashram along with four of his disciples. Police later arrested Pradesh Kumar Das, an employee of the World Vision, a Christian charity from Khadagpur. In another drive, two other persons Vikram Digal and William Digal were arrested from the house of Lal Digal, a local militant Christian from Nuasahi at Gunjibadi, Nuagaan. Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda was also named in the case.
After the brutal murder, violence spread in the area, curfew was imposed, several religious places including temples and churches were damaged and several people were killed from both sides. But the Christians publicised that only the Christians were the losers.
Sabyasachi Panda later said there was pressure from both Christians and Dalits to eliminate Saraswati. “We had asked Saraswati to desist from anti-Christian activities. It is a fact that Christians are in majority in our organisation. Our supporters in Odisha's Rayagada, Gajapati and Kandhamal also belonged to Christian community,” he said. In another incident, CPI (Maoist) expelled Panda when he made two Italian tourists hostage in March 2012. Now the question is who were those Christian forces who were pressurising him to eliminate Swamiji, and why he was expelled by the CPI (Maoist) when he made hostage two Italian tourists? What is the relation between CPI (Maoist) and Christians? It is a well known fact that Maoists are being funded by Christian NGOs. Now after the SC observation the government should inquire as to how the funds received by the Church from abroad are being used?
-Dr Ravindra Agrawal (The writer is a senior journalist)
Talking tough on Maoist menace, the Centre said action would be initiated against the NGOs and organisations receiving funds legally from various sources and utilising it for anti-national activities. A day after the government informed the Parliament that some cadres of the banned CPI (Maoists) received training from Communist Party of Philippines, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said, “If the source (of the funds) is illegal, then there has to be an enquiry.” The CPI (Maoists) has close links with foreign Maoist organisations in the Philippines and Turkey. The outfit is also a member of the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and organisations of South Asia. The so-called people's war being waged by CPI (Maoists) against the Indian state has also drawn support from several fringe Maoist organisations located in Germany, France, Holland, Turkey and Italy, he said in the reply.