The evasive pastor Fr. George Ponnaiah, who is on the move to avoid arrests for his hate speech and rank derogatory remarks on Bhoomi Devi, Bharat Mata and cursing PM and Home Minister, will get worse and
miserable death was arrested on the Madurai-Chennai Highway at Othakadai in Virudhunagar district on Saturday (24th July).
The Panavilai parish priest from Kanyakumari George Ponnaiah and another Fr. Panchu Stephen took part in a protest meeting at Arumanai on the 18th. This habitual BJP and Hindu phobic Ponnaiah made certain highly objectionable remarks, derogatory and anti-national in tone. In a jointly organized function by Muslims and Christians at a church in Arumani municipality in protest against the closure of churches (illegal), the ban on conducting prayers in houses and the denial of permission for renovating or building new churches, prayer halls on private Patta lands, in a video that went viral in social media, pastor make disparaging comments. What he spoke (in a nutshell) “because of us, people wear a decent dress like suit and pants. The temple priests and Hindus bare-bodied are fit to use only the handheld Ghanta or brass bell to make a sound (he forgets churches use bells during prayers). He demeans the farmers, Mahatma Gandhi and the poor besides the temple priests who wear shirts to cover the upper part of the body.
“No Hindu will vote for them(DMK). No matter how many temples the Minister of HR&CE Sekhar Babu visits and performs Kumbabishegam (consecrations) or how many temples he visits and worships without wearing clothing. Neither Mandaikaadu Amman temple nor Hindu votes helped the DMK win. DMK won by begging Christians and Muslims. It is our alms that helped DMK and Congress romp home with seats. DMK should not forget this. You (leadership of both DMK and Congress) did not win based on their talent or charisma. Our pastors give signals through their eyes. Our Pentecost missionaries will go every home to convey the message, i.e. to vote for our candidate rest will be taken care of. I have already told DMK MLA Prince that it was because of Christian Pastor’s direction and Pentecostal staff’s door-to-door campaign, the DMK won. IT Minister T Mano Thangaraj should not forget that they did not get any Hindu votes. They should not forget that their victor was alms given by Christians and Muslims. We informed DMK Kanya Kumari district secretary Suresh Rajan that we will campaign during a meeting in Nagercoil. However, he declined since it would unite Hindu votes against the DMK. As a result, BJP’s MR Gandhi won the election. BJP MLA M.R. Gandhi (uses third-person singular noun) claims he will not step on the ground with footwear because he considers it Bhooma Devi (Mother Earth). I wear shoes when I walk outside) because I don’t want the dirt of Bharat Mata to touch my body. Tamil Nadu Government provides us with free footwear so that we do not get rash or scabies from stepping on Bharat Mata, and that Mother Earth. Bhooma Devi is a dangerous woman. I warned Hindus. We (minorities) were 42% once, and now we are 62% of the total population in Kanya Kumari. Soon, our population will cross 70%. We will continue to increase our population, and no one can stop it. We tell this as a warning to Hindus. We do not fear BJP or RSS. You cannot prevent us from marching ahead.” His entire speech was full of ill will and hate and aimed at creating communal clashes. The crowd clapped his punch dialogues whenever he made. In a single stone, he said Stalin and Congress have no skills to win the polls on their own. They needed minorities’ votes to win. People elected MR Gandhi of BJP, the lone candidate from the district, because the church priests and Muslim clergies did not canvass for DMK candidate. …he was afraid that he might lose Hindu votes. So who won there? Who was this M R Gandhi? He went to Christian Nadars and gave Rs 2,000 and cried that he was a Nadar and that he wanted to die as an MLA." MR Gandhi was responsible for the killing of seven fishermen in Mandaikkadu communal clashes in 1982.
We would splash our saliva on the faces of PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Has anybody named their child after Modi or Amit Shah (he does not Modi and Shah or community name)? Stan is immortal. He lives forever. This is the spiritual belief of Christians and Muslims have in the district. If anybody wants to destroy us, it will never happen. Our population was 42 per cent earlier, and now we are crossing 62 per cent and soon will touch 70 per cent. We have a strong belief in God. Don't assume pastors are bell clapping (indirectly meaning Hindu Brahmin priests). We are all educated. Stan Swamy was a professor. He lived for the development of Tribals but was fettered with chains. He was kept in a hospital. Modi and Amit Shah’s last days will be cruel. Most unexpectedly, he further stated that Prime Minister Modi’s and Home Minister Amit Shah’s final years will be miserable. If the God we believe in is still alive, we shall watch Amit Shah and Modi devoured by dogs and worms. (Some comments are unprintable). Our curse will destroy them soon. Aravindan Neelakantan of Swarajya wrote “If open communalization of vote canvassing and being boastful about that wasn't enough, the clergyman then goes on to further insult a local community (Nadars) that has sympathies for the BJP. Asking if the Nadars "have any brains," the Reverend asks rhetorically if the BJP candidate M R Gandhi was even a Nadar for the Christian Nadars to have voted for him. This is not a fringe lunatic giving a speech. Rev. George Ponnaiah is one of the charismatic priests of the Catholic diocese in the Kanyakumari district with a devoted following.”
He rightly points out, “Church-based vote mobilization is quite common in every election, and support is conditional on some sort of quid pro quo involving support for the Church in the political sphere. It is for this reason that the Indian National Congress has a strong presence here, unlike anywhere else in Tamil Nadu”. Muslims are deciding factors in areas where they outnumber Hindus. In Kanyakumari, former Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan lost the poll twice to businessman Vasantha Kumar and his son purely because of this arithmetic. In Aravakurichi K. Annamalai and L Murugan in Dharapuram lost the elections due to the same factor.
Hindu Makkal Katch leader Arjun Sampath said Ponnaya is currently under arrest for the speech he made. Churches determine who Christians should vote for. What is the opinion of the Bishops Council on this issue? It is unconstitutional for Christian religious institutions to control all political activity of Christians through Churches. The political affiliation of churches is a threat to secularism and that the Election Commission should take action in this regard.”
With the video going viral in social media, BJP, Hindu Munnani, Hindu Makkal Katchi, VHP and other Hindu support outfits lodged complaints in almost all the police stations demanding his immediate arrest and slapping of Goondas act on him. Hindu Maha Sabha and BJP’s legal wing secretary Rajendra Kumar petitioned the Theni dist. SP Pravin Umesh Tongra to book Ponnaiah under Goondas act.
Pastor Ponnaiah also recalled his grandfather, Hindu, married her daughter to a Christian (my father) to prevent her from continuing the sludge and sewer of Hinduism. It is quite common in the Nadar community to seek an alliance with Christians and vice versa. But people who marry Christians get converted. Senior journalist Rangaraj Pande questioned who gave him the right to say Hinduism is a sewer, i.e. filthy muddy waters. It is highly condemnable. He mistook his grandfather’s action. Every father wants his daughter to be married off to a good person. His father could be the right choice for him.
Ponnaiah demeans the persons without shirts and brands them only to clap the bells in temples. Christians only trained us to wear coat suits and modern dresses. He is not referring to those who go to temples without a shirt but all who do not wear them like peasants, labourers, MK Gandhi and the poor. It is another arrogant comment. He is more for western culture and tries to promote the practice of apartheid.
As usual, except the Hindutva outfits, no other political parties made their voice in condemning Pastor’s comments. The DMK, which ought to have arrested him and booked him under the Goondas act, did not move a stone. The media tried to say he spoke against PM and HM, leaving other comments out of viewers and readers’ attention. The police booked him under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, race etc.), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs),505 (ii) statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes,506 (i)criminal intimidation), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease of dangerous to life) and 143 (unlawful assembly and other sections of the Indian penal code. He was also booked under sec—3 of the Epidemic Disease Act for conducting protests in violation of COVID-19 norms. The BJP had announced a protest on 28th July demanding his arrest.
Meanwhile, the priest was arrested in the wee hours of Saturday while he was trying to escape to neighbouring states. Journalists are divided on the nature of his arrest. Some say he was arrested on a tip given by some unidentified persons, including in which he was travelling, the route, etc. Some say he was asked to escape keeping his phone on, and the police would be tipped about his movement to facilitate them to arrest the pastor. This was a face-saving effort by the state government. Police formed five special teams to nab him. Some others say the pastor was arrested while fleeing the country. DMK government made a mid-night arrest of BJP leader Kalyana Raman, vlogger Kishor K Swamy and others who criticized Stalin and his government. DMK MPs Kanimozhi, Dayananidhi Marans are yet to tweet or post messages on Instagram and FB besides writing letters to PM, HM, etc. Like politicians, Ponnaiah complained of chest pain. The magistrate, before whom he was presented, accepted the request for treatment. Subsequently, he was admitted to a Palayamkottai prison. His advocates will move the bail application today or tomorrow. In all probabilities, he walks out of the hospital by Monday evening. The case is not watertight. The state government and media try to project, the priest made comments on PM and HM. As the NSA section was applied, he would be acquitted if the case reaches for final hearing.
Before his arrest, Ponnaiah, in a video statement, said, “my speech has been edited and circulated on social media to show that I hurt the sentiments of Hindu brothers and sisters. None of us on the dais spoke of anything hurting, religious sentiments. If my speech hurt anyone, I regret the same. (no apology). The full video is available on social media, which proves otherwise. Ponnaiah is holding a key position in the Democratic Christian Forum.
In the same meeting, another pastor, Panchu Stephen, spoke the same way his predecessor made disparaging remarks. He has urged the Minister and politicians should convert to Christianity or follow our diktats; otherwise, they will be subject to the curse. He was also arrested.
The government will not show any interest after the din dies down. Cases were filed 4 to 5 years ago against VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan, Dravidar kazhagam K Veeraman, Karuppar Koottam youtube channel, cine lyricist Vairamuthu, Muslim and Christian leaders, among others, are still at investigation level. The TN police will show an interest only in BJP and other Sangh parivar cases in getting them arrested, goondas or NSA slapped.
Recently in Dindigul, four SDPI cadres were taken into custody sporting a namam (the tridental mark on the forehead of Vaishnavas, using white clay and red powder), a sacred symbol Vaishavites) to mentally challenged boy and paraded him across the city. DMK and CM Stalin are staging all these things to cover up failures and inability to fulfil the poll promises before polls.