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Catholic diocese threatens to fight election over green commission
Kozhikode, India, 4 March 2014: The demand of Church groups in Kerala to scrap a high level green committee's recommendation has snowballed into a political issue on Sunday when officials of Thamarassery diocese threatened to field their own candidates in the upcoming national election.
Spokesperson of the diocese Fr Abraham Kalipurayidathil said the diocese plans to field its own candidates as independents if the government fails to abandon the field its own candidates as independents.
The Church people have been on war path for over a year now saying the measures to protect the green hills, if implemented, will adversely affect thousands of their people, mostly farmers. This has pressure on Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala.
“We are sad that none of the ministers, including Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who had passed by the civil station where people from the Western Ghats region are on an indefinite fast, did not met them.
The chief ministers and all other ministers will have to pay a heavy price in the coming elections for neglecting our demand,” he said.
Earlier, the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council in its election circular to be read out in the churches during Sunday mass on March 9, had called upon the laity not to vote for those supporting the Kasturirangan panel report as the implementation of the report would adversely affect the lives of people in 123 villages notified as ecologically sensitive areas (ESA).
The All Kerala Catholic Congress, an arm of the Catholic Church, had also threatened to ensure the defeat of candidates supporting the Kasturirangan report.??
Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Kasturirangan panel report has become a boiling issue, strong enough to affect the fortunes of the ruling UDF in the state.
Meanwhile, the indefinite fast by the Western Ghat Villagers’ Protection Forum before the Kozhikode civil station entered the fifth day on Sunday.
Thousands of women and children from various parts of hilly regions of Wayanad, Malappuram and Kozhikode carried out a mock ‘funeral’ procession carrying a casket containing the report on Saturday in front of the civil station.