With only days left for the Syro Malabar Church’s synod — high profile meet of Bishops, to take place, it's Chief, Cardinal Mar George Alencherry is drawing flak for receiving a pamphlet distributed by the BJP supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
A section of believers of the Church has come out against Alencherry, who is also the president of Kerala Catholic Bishops Council, alleging that he is supporting the BJP’s pro-CAA campaign for personal gains.
Pictures of Cardinal Alencherry receiving the pamphlet from BJP leader AN Radhakrishnan have been doing the rounds.
BJP had a few days back kick-started a nationwide door-to-door campaign to increase support for the controversial CAA, a legislation which gives citizenship to illegal immigrants based on religion. The act excluded citizenship right for Muslim immigrants while granting the same for Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians who have come to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
The Archdiocesan Movement for Transparency (AMT) which had been acting as a corrective force within the church, has come out alleging that Alencherry was trying to appease BJP by supporting pro-CAA campaign to get support in return for the cases against him.
Cardinal Alencherry is an accused in the controversial land deal case of Syro Malabar Church. Alencherry is accused of selling off the land that belonged to the church which resulted in crores of loss for the church.
"The BJP in Ernakulam inaugurated their pro-CAA campaign by distributing the pamphlets to Cardinal Alencherry at Mount St Thomas in Kakkanad. Alencherry received the pamphlets and there are photos of it circulating," Riju Kanjookaran, general secretary of AMT, told TNM.
AMT also alleged that the move of Alencherry to support BJP who are trying to destroy the fundamentals of the Constitution, is a humiliation to the believers of the church.
AMT has also come up with demands that the Church should take action against Alencherry for this. "CAA is against minority communities, tomorrow this could also happen to the Christian community. Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama - the largest Muslim body of scholars in the state - took disciplinary action against one of their leaders for receiving pro-CAA pamphlet from BJP. The church should do the same to Alencherry to save the interest of minorities," said Riju.
Meanwhile, officials of the Syro Malabar Church reacted to the allegation saying that the Cardinal accepted the pamphlets out of courtesy. "The BJP leaders had taken appointment to meet the Cardinal. Likewise, they came to his residence with the pamphlets. Cardinal accepted it just out of courtesy that one generally gives to guests who come to our houses. There is nothing more than that, the BJP members itself took a photograph of it," the official told TNM. He also added that Alencherry had reacted on CAA a few weeks back and opposed it.
It was during the Christmas celebrations at St. Mount last month, when Alencherry had said that the Centre should rethink on CAA and that he hopes a new bill will be brought in to tone down the legislation.