Language Sites
  • UCAN China
  • UCAN India
  • UCAN Indonesia
  • UCAN Vietnam

Police investigate church violence

Dalits invade celebration, demanding justice for expelled seminarian

Police investigate church violence
Police try to control the protesters

October 10, 2012

Mail This Article
(For more than one recipient, type addresses separated by commas)

Police are investigating 150 people for damaging Church property and protesting without a permit after they allegedly broke up a diocese’s silver jubilee celebration on Sunday in Tamil Nadu. About 200 protesters, mainly Hindu and Christian Dalits - formerly known as 'untouchables' - were demanding the reinstatement of a Dalit seminarian, Michael Raj, who was expelled in his final year. Father A. David Arokian, who attended the event at St. John De Britto Shrine in Oriyur with more than 25,000 others celebrants, said: “The protesters wanted to shame diocesan officials and were not interested in any negotiations about the expelled seminarian." St. Paul’s Seminary in Trichirapalli expelled six seminarians, including Raj, in August 2011 for a student prank. One of the others has allegedly admitted sole responsibility since the incident. Raj would have been the first priest from his Pallar community, said Mary John, president of the Dalit Christian Liberation Movement. “Justice is more sacred than Mass,” John said, but he denied that protesters attacked anyone. “If we had attacked, the police would have arrested us.” He said the people disrupted the Mass only to force bishops to negotiate with Dalit leaders and accept the seminarian back. However, Bishop Susai Manickam of Sivagangai diocese said the seminary board had taken the decision jointly and Raj had been given the option to join a religious congregation. He added that the seminarians were expelled after months of deliberations and giving them “enough time” to correct themselves. Related reports Dalit attack case ends with settlement Church leaders fail Dalit Christians
UCAN needs your support to continue our independent journalism
Access to UCAN stories is completely free of charge - however it costs a significant amount of money to provide our unique content. UCAN relies almost entirely on donations from our readers and donor organizations that support our mission. If you are a regular reader and are able to support us financially, please consider making a donation. Click here to donate now.