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Church anxious, says Catholicos

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Mar Baselios Cleemis
Mar Baselios Cleemis

Staff Reporter

Criticises move to cancel affiliation of colleges

Says the Church is ready for talks with the Government

“Admissions done in the most transparent manner”

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Problems relating to self-financing professional colleges cannot be resolved if the State Government publicly swears by consensus with churches even as it makes moves to bring them to their knees, Mar Baselios Cleemis, Major Archbishop and Catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, said here on Friday.

At a press conference at the Archbishop’s house at Pattom, he said the Church would not walk the path of confrontation and was ready for talks with the Government.

However, when colleges ran by it were threatened with cancellation of affiliation, anxiety in the minds of the Church and members of the minority community over the real intention of the Government was redoubled.

(On Thursday, the Syndicate of the University of Kerala decided to seek legal opinion on whether the affiliation granted to three self-financing engineering colleges should be cancelled or not. Among them is the Mar Baselios College of Engineering, under the Church.)

Welcomes statement

He said the Church welcomed the statement of Communist Party of India (Marxist) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan that it and the minority communities had nothing to fear from the Left Democratic Front Government.

“If comrade Pinarayi says that the concerns raised in the recent pastoral letter issued by catholic leaders are baseless and there is no cause for worry, then all our anxieties are over. But then comes the news that the affiliation of some colleges may be cancelled … So, who is for consensus and who is for confrontation?” he asked.

Pastoral letters are not issued just on the basis of hearsay, he added. The colleges under the Inter-Church Council have conducted admissions this year in the most transparent and fair manner.

“I challenge anyone to try and identify loopholes in our admission process, to find out whether we charged even one rupee more than what we said we would charge,” he said.

No call for struggle

Nobody in the Church has called for a “liberation struggle” against the Government. Something that might have been said during somebody’s speech should not be taken out of context.

The Government of the day is the Government of the Church also and the Church still expects justice from the Government. “Everybody knows that the Church of 1957 is not the Church of 2007 and that the (communist) party of 1957 is not the party of 2007.”

The managements of self-financing colleges have often been accused of crass commercialisation. It is the view of the Church that cross-subsidy in fee will be a direct cause for commercialisation.

The Supreme Court has allowed minority institutions to admit students to all seats. “But we said we don’t want that, we are ready to give seats. We said we are ready to admit 10 students free of cost to our institutions. Why has the government not committed itself to teaching even one student free of cost? Social justice should not be confined to declarations. It should be implemented,” he said.

Asked how the Church planned to respond to the threat of cancellation of affiliation, the Major Archbishop said the university had taken the decision on the affiliation issue in a unilateral manner.

“We too may take a decision without asking the university. We will go where we can get justice,” he added.

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