Equality Before Law? TN Minister’s Daughter-In-Law Seeks 'Legislation' Mandating 'Pope’s Consent' For Arrest Of Catholic Priests In India

by Aravindan Neelakandan - Jul 31, 2021 07:54 PM +05:30 IST
Equality Before Law? TN Minister’s Daughter-In-Law Seeks 'Legislation' Mandating 'Pope’s Consent' For Arrest Of Catholic Priests In IndiaDMK president M K Stalin gets church support for assembly elections. 
Snapshot
  • The seemingly ridiculous demand, which attracted claps from the audience, is dangerous and has its roots in colonial atrocities.

The outburst of Mercy Senthilkumar, the daughter-in-law of influential DMK minister I Periyaswamy, at Dindigul at a memorial function for Stan Swamy — an accused in a violence incitement case — has caused quite a commotion on social media.

She stated, among other rhetorical rot, that a law should be brought in which requires the 'permission' of the Pope to arrest any Roman Catholic priest or nun in India.

Dindigul has already been emerging, for the last two decades, as another epicenter of Hindu persecution and Christian dominance — particularly by Roman Catholics. Atrocities against economically marginalised Hindus have been progressively rampant over time.

This writer personally met Hindus of the Scheduled Community who have been persecuted by the Church and the dominant Catholic community with constantly inhuman humiliation.

Therefore, the present demand by the daughter-in-law of the minister sends a clear signal — to both the Hindus fighting for survival in the district and Christians indulging in such atrocities — that the state administration's loyalties and agendas are clear.

The coming days for Hindus of Dindigul are going to be really testing and challenging, and that is a matter of concern not only for the local people, but for the entire state as well as the nation itself, in the long run.

The demand that the Christian clergy be taken out of Indian legal jurisdiction and be subjected to Papal jurisdiction should not be brushed aside as a spur-of-the-moment rhetoric, but rather as a strategic testing of communal waters.

In fact, this has precedence in colonial history as well.

In the history of colonialism in India, there are certain chapters which are not talked about but are well known as a precursor to the attempted Christianisation of the country and the agenda of the Church — such as the advent of the Dutch.

The Dutch East India Company, known as VOC, always used Christianity as the flag bearer of their colonial empire. So, when a Hindu got converted to Christianity, the VOC, wherever they could, demanded that the jurisdiction of Indian Christians be given to them.

In other words, by changing their religion, Indians became the subjects of a European monarch. The Dutch were fanatical Christians and were notorious for their attempts to destroy the famous Thiruchendur Murugan temple as well.

This is also said to have roots in the Dutch-Portuguese conflict. More than 50 Tamil Hindus gave their lives for the protection and retrieval of the sacred idols of the temple. Through diplomatic persuasion, the sacred idols stolen by the Dutch were repatriated to India.

Despite such intolerant behaviour from the Dutch, the jurisdiction over the converts to Christianity was sought by them. For example, in the treaty of 1663, the Dutch East India Company got for itself the right to administer justice to all Christians on the Western coast of India.

The 1743 treaty the Dutch made with the Travancore royalty allowed it to expand the Company's Christian jurisdictional empire right into Travancore.

Similarly, the coastal communities in Tamil Nadu — the eastern coastline of India — declared the king of Portugal as their master.

In Western Christendom, despite its professed secularism, the Church does enjoy some privileges. However, the recent widespread pedophilia scandal in the Church — with its entrenched institutional and clerical rot — apart from the shockingly lukewarm response from the topmost authorities of the Vatican, have made the West rethink these privileges.

In fact, the United Nations Committee on the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocols to which the Vatican is a signatory, has asked the Vatican 'to act in greater compliance with the UN and to create a mechanism to accomplish it.'

It has further pointed out that the Vatican's 'adopted polices and practices have essentially led to the continuation of the [sexual] abuse by and the impunity of the [clerical] perpetrators.'

Now, with India becoming a theological-colony of the Vatican, allowing its franchise organisations and priests with questionable ethics the liberty to have extra-territorial legal jurisdiction, that too to a theological State, would be considered a ‘godsend’ for predatory elements in the Church who are unhappy now with their havens in the West closed.

The numbed West — with its anti-east proclivities — might also turn a blind eye to the Catholic Church atrocities on Indian children, given its current state.

The Government of India and the judiciary should take note of such secessionist attempts and nip them in the bud, lest they grow to endanger the very Constitutional framework and ethos of the Indian state.

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