Catholic Diocese stages demonstration

Updated - June 21, 2015 10:52 am IST

Published - June 21, 2015 12:00 am IST - COIMBATORE:

Priests and nuns take part in the protest against a private television channel at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Coimbatore on Saturday.- Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

Priests and nuns take part in the protest against a private television channel at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Coimbatore on Saturday.- Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

Catholic Diocese of Coimbatore staged a demonstration at St. Michael’s Cathedral on Saturday protesting against a programme aired by a private television channel last week.

Priests, nuns and the congregation, who took part in the protest, claimed that the programme hurt their sentiments.The television channel aired a programme in which a 40-year old resident of Kottaimedu here alleged that a catholic misbehaved with her 18-year-old daughter before murdering her on the premises owned by the church near Walayar in Palakkad District in July 2013.

It is said that the programme further added that the parents were afraid to send children to the schools run by priests after the incident and also made defamatory remarks against the bishop and priests. The two-hour programme was aired in two episodes in the evening on July 15 and 16 – and re telecasted it in the morning the next days.

Vicar General of Diocese of Coimbatore John Joseph Stanis, who headed the protest, said that the agitaton was to condemn such defamatory remarks. “They were one sided statements and the channel did not approach us to verify them. This has tarnished the image of the church and hurt the sentiments of believers,” he told The Hindu .

Mr. Stanis said that the priest Arokiaraj who was claimed to be involved in the incident was dismissed under the Canon Law (Church law) on moral grounds on charges of misbehaving with the girl.

Stating that it was up to the police to inquire and find out the ‘mystery’ behind the girl’s death, he said that the church was ready to cooperate with the police for inquires in connection with the allegations posed by the women (Shanthi Roselin). The Vicar General said that the church would file a defamation petition against the television channel.

Earlier this week, Shanthi Roselin lodged a complaint with the city police alleging that a few persons – instigated by the priest who she claimed to be responsible for her daughter’s death – damaged her house and also intimidated on the day after the first episode was aired. Based on the complaint Ukkadam Police have registered a case against six persons under sections 147 (rioting), 294B (obscene language), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) and 506 (ii) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

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