“Church premises used for stir against Kudankulam plant”

As some of the churches are being used to disseminate anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) messages, urging the people to join the ongoing protest against the nuclear power project, the police here have started registering cases against priests who either allow or indulge in such activities.

After the St. Lourdes Church premises at Idinthakarai was converted into anti-KKNPP protest venue, a number of priests from Roman Catholic and Church of South India and even the Bishops of both the Churches met the protesters to express their solidarity with the agitating public, mostly Christians, without police permission.

“Since using the premises of a place of worship to air anti-governmental campaign is a crime, cases are being registered against those indulge in such activities,” a police official here said.

Meanwhile, police investigation has also revealed that the “anti-KKNPP and anti-government” campaign being conducted through the churches have spread up to Valliyoor, from where the people are being mobilised for the ongoing protest at Idinthakarai.

During the sermon or towards the end of the Holy Mass in some of the churches in the southern parts of the district, the priests appeal to the public to raise their voice against the upcoming nuclear power project and some of them even urge the public to revolt against the power generation programme “threatening the life and livelihood of the people”.

Similar sentiments are propagated through the ‘Anbiyams'.

The ‘Anbiyams' are small Christian communities functioning in every parish, which meet periodically. They also discuss issues the community face, and find solutions for them.

After the protest against KKNPP intensified, the appeals being made by parish priests to protest against the nuclear power project are discussed at the meetings of the ‘Anbiyams', a senior officer said.

“As per the decision taken in our ‘Anbiyam', we are now going to Idinthakarai in vans to participate in the ongoing relay fast against KKNPP,” said a Valliyoor-based retired teacher, even as her husband, also a retired post-graduate assistant, was stopped by his son from participating in the agitation on Wednesday.

Police sources said 76 cases have been registered so far against those conducting anti-KKNPP protests and a few political leaders, including Marumalrchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Vaiko, Pattali Makkal Katchi president G.K. Mani, Viduthalai Chirthaigal Katchhi general secretary Thol. Thirumavalavan and social activist Medha Patkar for participating in the protest organised without proper permission from the police.

“Cases were registered against RC Bishop of Tuticorin Diocese Yvon Ambroise and other priests for the same offence,” the police officer said.