Days after Hindu organisations led a massive protest in Erode's Chennimalai against a proposal by Christian Munnani to rename the hill as 'Yesu Malai' or 'Kalvaari Malai', Gunasekaran Samuel, an Archbishop of the Anglican Church of South India & North India Missionary Diocese, released a video stating that he condemns the incident and was offering his apologies.
As per a report by The Commune, in the video, Samuel said, "Regarding the issue of Chennimalai, I have been watching all the channels. This has caused me a lot of sadness. Especially, dear Christian friends, it was a very wrong thing to go to Chennimalai and pray. They should not have done that. That is the truth. It was a very wrong thing for Christian friends to go to Chennimalai and pray. I sincerely condemn that.
"That is, it is not mentioned in the Bible that you have to go to the place where others are praying and pray to Jesus.
"I believe that this was done wantonly. So, this government must take action against such people. This Tamil Nadu government must take action against such people. If the Tamil Nadu government does not take action, it only means that they are hand in glove with them.
"There is no doubt that the entire Christian community will get the wrong name because of such a thing. So, please understand this. Especially, they say that they are Christian Munnani. That Christian Munnani is a new thing, even our Christians do not know about it. We do not know what it is. That is the truth. Some people say that it is a Christian Munnani and they kept a name for themselves.
“So, I strongly condemn the hurt caused to members and followers of other religions. The Tamil Nadu government must condemn and also take action against those who are in that Christian Munnani. Their behaviour and actions are affecting the entire Christian community.
"These people from the Christian Munnani are unnecessarily bringing reasons for communal unrest. I know that someone is helping them from behind. So, I would like to apologise to all my dear brothers and sisters who belong to the Hindu religion. I apologise on behalf of the Christians for this incident that took place using the name of Christians. Please forgive me. We do not need any hatred among us. The government has to take action against those who are unnecessarily trying to create communal unrest in Tamil Nadu, disturb the peace between us, and try to blame the BJP government for it.
"People from the Hindu Munnani, please forgive us. I apologise on behalf of all the Christians. Please forgive. We would like to accept you as our brothers and sisters. We were all born on the same soil. So let there be no differences between us. I ask again for forgiveness. I will be happy if you tell me that you have forgiven us. What they did was wrong and I strongly condemn it. Yours truly, Archbishop Gunasekaran Samuel.”
The Chennimalai temple in Erode district, dedicated to Lord Muruga, dates back to over 3000 years and is the first where the 'Kanda Sashti Kavacham' dedicated to Lord Muruga was performed by Sri Bala Devaraya Swamigal,, stated a report by The Commune.
As per a report by Dinamalar, local Hindus were distressed with the proposal to rename the hill and the frequent Christian prayer meetings in which anti-Hindu remarks were made.
They alleged that a number of outsiders were participating in those meetings and political parties like the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) have supported the Christian groups.
Further, the report stated that when local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Hindu Munnani functionaries objected to these Christian prayer meetings, clashes broke out and complaints were registered with the police, leading to arrests of two people, Chinnaswamy and Tamilarasan.
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