CPIM befriends the Christians?
In My View

CPIM befriends the Christians?

P.C. Punnen

P.C. Punnen

India will face another election very soon. We will decide what kind of prime minister we should have, whether it will be a government that will go by the Constitution of India. Whether it will be one government that will end corruption at all levels. That important is the next one.

That said, let us go to Kerala. The outcome of this election in the state which boasts of high literacy and peace despite the strong division among people of different religions is crucial. There are three parties that count in Kerala: the CPM, the Congress and the BJP. The Marxists who were till recently secular to the core, the Congress which has which has taken a cavalier attitude towards the main issue and the BJP which has an ideology that is unacceptable to a vast majority of the people. The CPM can't play a major role in national politics. They can at best be a sidekick of the Congress or the ruling party that is not BJP aligned.

Be that as it may, the CPM could have taken a key role in Kerala without sacrificing its  ideology. The Congress which used to swear by Nehruvian principles has adopted it seems the RSS or BJP'S ideology on religious and economic subjects. Nehru broke off from Gandhi's ideology and Manmohan Singh buried Nehruvian ideas full fathom deep. Manmohan Singh had to be supported by Marxists.That's the tragedy that befell the Marxists.

That being the case, Kerala has three groupings- the Hindus, Muslims and Christians.  Hindus form nearly 55 percent of the population, the Christians form 21 percent, while Muslims are almost 24 percent . So Kerala has to seriously think of its political move. In this context and Pinarayi seems to have taken a shrewd move but that doesn't gel with Marxism. A key example of this is the stand taken by the ruling party on the Christians bill. Just as the previous Marxist government didn't bother about the Justice VR Krishna Iyer bill on Christians, the Pinarayi government had decided not to enforce the bill shown by Justice KT Thomas. Justice Thomas  has watered down what Krishna Iyer proposed. But even that the CPM wants to water down. The bill proposed by Justice Thomas is a fair bill. It has been made public by Justice Thomas. It proposes that the money deals of the institutions run by the Christians changes from its present condition. It provides a role for the layman. Now it is the prerogative of the Bishops and priests who raise the money by donations from believers. They are given no say in the matter they donated to the church. This is strange. The priests and bishops should play a role in religious matters only and not in property that belongs to the church, the institutions the church runs and the money that comes to the church. Donors can make their grievances regarding the running of these institutions to a 3 member panel. Its decisions are binding. This is unacceptable to those who run these institutions. In other words, those running the rackets will stand to lose. The priests and bishops are heavily upset by the move. It is said they spread the rumour that it is a move to control the church by setting up a panel like the Devaswom board and it's against the Constitution which provides special status to minority-run institutions.

Truth to tell there, is a huge money involved in this and that is why the protest against the move and critics call it a true Marxist move. So be it . This racket has been running for decades.

Two examples will do to justify the alleged move. Bishop Yohánnan has had to settle a case for 281 crore Rupees says Times of India, India's largest circulated English newspaper. His followers number about 25000. He runs a hospital in Kerala which charges peanuts from the patients but pays enormous amounts to the doctors.  Grapevine has it this hospital has been sold to Yusuf Ali.

The central government has ordered stopping of foreign funds to Yohánnan's organisation says a report in the Times. The Kerala cardinal of the Catholics is facing a serious charge regarding sale of land in Angamaly. One can extend the charges against  anybody associated with the church- run institutions. The charges may be fake or may be partially true. This is a new phenomenon in Christian institutions. Times have changed that's all one should say of these charges.

The CPM should have changed. If it had adopted a stand that it will, like the Sabarimala case adopt a policy which is fair to all, it would have changed the CPM. With elections round the corner it has decided to leave the matter unsettled. By taking a stand that would have earned the wrath of Bishops. By playing a game in an issue that affects Christians, the CPM is playing a double game.

The CPM wasted a great chance. Walk the talk and call a spade a spade. There is no question of holding talks with the various bishops of the Christians as an editorial in a Malayalam newspaper has suggested. Even if the Bishops can have a say in 10 percent of votes the CPM shouldn't care for it. The Bishops had played a role in getting the EMS ministry dismissed. They have to pay a price now. That's the basic rule in Indian politics.

Thanks to Justice KT Thomas.

(The facts and views mentioned in this article are that of the author)