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Indian Church will not play politics in Kerala: Cardinal

Kochi, India, 13 March 2014: The Catholic Church in Kerala is not fully happy with the draft notification on the Kasturirangan report but that is no reason for it to indulge party politics ahead of general elections, said Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, major archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church.

The cardinal, while addressing a press conference in Kochi on Tuesday, said the Church works for people and cannot be happy about the draft notification as people living in the Western Ghats were not happy about it.

The Church leaders were opposing the implementation of recommendations made by the high level green panel headed by Kasturirangan aimed at protecting the Western Ghats. They say if the recommendations are implemented without changes thousands of people, mostly Christians, will be displaced.

Christian opposition forced the federal government to issue a draft notification two days ago, which among other things proposes to re-work on the demarcation of the Ecologically Sensitive Areas. These are the areas where the panel recommended severe restriction on human activities.

The Cardinal said that he had seen only seven pages of the draft notification and from that he could understand that the notification had taken into consideration the problems faced by people of Kerala.

"The final notification is what maters but this draft is a first step towards it. The people's agitation against the Kasturirangan report will go on till the final notification is out," he added.

The issues linked to Western Ghats continue but the Church will not use it for or against any political partym the cardinal said.

"The elections are not an assessment of just one issue", he said.

On queries as to whether the church would support a candidate being proposed to be put up by the High Range Committee, which is leading the agitation against the Kasturirangan report, Cardinal Alencherry was non-committal.

He said that while it was not wrong to consider putting up a candidate, the church had nothing to say on it.

He said Catholics not to violate the election rules, not to indulge in party politics or violate the rules of the Church.
Source: TOI

Joseph Paimpallikunnal


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