TAMIL NADU

Minority groups come out in support of hospice

Expressing solidarity:Organisers of the protest also wanted action against those who attack churches and level false allegations against Christian institutions.R. Ravindran

Expressing solidarity:Organisers of the protest also wanted action against those who attack churches and level false allegations against Christian institutions.R. Ravindran  

Claim the institute complied with all government norms

Members of minority communities, including Roman Catholic priests and nuns, on Monday staged a demonstration condemning the false allegations and violence against St. Joesph’s Hospice in Paleswaram, Chengalpattu. They also demanded that State and Central governments provide protection from the interference of anti-social elements.

Following certain adverse reports in a section of the media, the authorities shifted all the inmates of St. Joseph’s Hospice to other institutions.

Functioning since 2011, St. Joseph’s Hospice is a home for the dying destitute situated in Paleswaram, Uthiramerur Taluk run by R.V. Thomas, a Catholic priest. As per Government rules and regulations, the details of all inmates were registered; proper facilities were given to them, and a modern, concrete vault for burying the dead was also set up. Information on the inmates’ death was also sent to the district administration periodically, the protesters claimed. They added that the current problems were caused by a group of people who had been continuously troubling Fr. Thomas.

‘No sale of bones’

Talking to The Hindu, Madras-Mylapore Archbishop George Anthonysamy denied all allegations against the hospice. Dr. Anthonysamy said they took destitute from hospitals, roads, railway stations and bus stands, cleaned them up, gave them a place to stay and food to eat. The premises were neat and tidy and they were buried in an ‘ecological’ way for which they had the permission of the district collector.

The institution had all approvals in place till 2017. The approvals for this year were pending clearance with the government, he added.

Refuting the allegations one by one, Dr. Anthonysamy said, “We cannot accept the allegation that the institute was selling bones. Bones cannot be sold. All are sick people and malnourished; how will their bones be? It is wrong to say bones were sold.”

In a statement, the organisers requested the State government to assure protection of minorities and their institutions.

They also passed resolutions demanding strong action against those who attack churches and level false allegations against Christian institutions and its leaders.

Archibishop of Chengalpattu A. Neethinathan, Ex-MP Peter Alphonse, Manitha Neya Makkal Katchi H.M. H. Jawahirullah and other leaders participated in the agitation.

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