Bishop Gallela Kidnap – CCV report of 21st May, 2016

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This report below on Bishop Gallela Kidnap appeared in CCV on May 21, 2016

Campaign against Caste in Catholic Church Do the silence & failure of bishops  to discuss it publicly amount to admission they are caste practitioners?

 We suggest Bishops bring out a pastoral on Caste practice in Catholic Church.

What do you readers suggest?

1. Are Indian Catholics practitioners of Casteism?

2. What about Catholic clergy – Priests and Bishops in India? 

3. ”No caste-minded person can be a follower of Jesus.” Do you agree?

4. How to make Catholic church in India Caste-Mukth, that is, Zero tolerant of Casteism:

a. Expel practitioners?

b. Punish them?

c. What Christ-like punishment do you suggest?

 (Note: This is part of the campaign CCV promised to make India Caste-mukth as James Kottorour contribution to Modiji’s bigger campaign: Swachh Bharat. We humbly request our readers to send your honest views by saying: Yes or No, or brief answers to our 4 questions in one or two sentences. No objection to longer replies. Kindly accept our thanks in advance for your cooperation. james kottoor, CCV editor).


Bishop Gallela Kidnap – Caste craze  explodes in Kadappa? High caste priests kidnap dalit Bishop!

dr. james kottoor

Catholic Bishop Prasad Gallala belonging to a Dalit community, of Kadapa  was kidnapped on April 25th 2016. It was the first unheard of caste-proppeled crime in the history of the Catholic Church in India which is all too vociferous in proclaiming there is no “caste discrimination” in the Catholic  church.

The crime was committed by three upper caste Reddy Catholic priests of the same diocese. Basicaly it was an outbreak of Caste conflict – the unwritten law being, low castes should take orders from High Castes, not vice versa — afflicting the Catholic church from top  to bottom at all levels, from bishops to priests to religious to laity. Actual perpetrators of the crime were some ten thugs employed and directed by the three priests who were resorting to violence as their last ploy to extract plum profitable posts in the diocese, according to reports already published.

The Indian Currents, an International weekly from Delhi broke the news first and Church Citizens’ Voice (CCV), Kochi, took it up from the first week of May and gave wide coverage to the crime with inputs from the Bishop himself and Fr. AXJ Bosco SJ, Secretary, SC, ST and BC Commission of TCBC and Adviser, National council of Dalit Christians. Hardly any Catholic publications in the country seem to have come forward to give it due publicity to the dastardly, shameful crime and explore its aftermath. But ever since  CCV has written many short or long reports and articles and sent them regularly to all Indian Bishops for their information, reflection and action. Unfortunately we have not received any reacton from any of them either.

What is most striking and unbelievable is that the Church in India, especially the hierarchical church, which usually makes hell of a noise about attacks from outside against Catholic institutions or personnel, has been observing an ominous, ill-foreboding studied silence ever since, except for stray,  namesake pronouncements of condemnation from Cardinal Oswald gracious of Bombay, and another joined statement of Andhra bishops condemning violence against minorities, but not uttering a word about the despicable caste-cancer or venom, which is at the core of the crime, which none of them, due to shame, want to accept, though all of them practice it more or less. Cardinal Baselius Cleemis is the Chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. Not even he, to our knowledge, has come out openly to condemn or commiserate with his brother bishops. According to Fr. Bosco sj, mentioned above, he has not even replied to this day an elaborate letter he wrote on  May 18th  2016 explaining the seriousness of the issue.

There must be serious other reasons for this stony silence on the part of the bishops. What are they? Is Bishop Gallela guilty of any thing which forbids his brother bishops to extend their sympathy and support to him? We are not aware of any. If there are, they are to be dealt with separately and not to be mixed up caste discrimination.

In fact the latest letter we have received and printed below, from E Jayaraj, General Secretary – SIDCA (South Indian Delith Catholic Association) is strident against the present deafening, unsettling silence of the hierarchy. At least the names of the office bearers of the association points to a democratic representation of south India: its president, Alphones G.Kennedy from Karnataka, Vice presidents James Joseph and Cp.Chinnayan from Kerala and Tamilnadu respectively, its General Secretary, Esukala Jaraj from Andhra, and its Treasurer Vijay Motghkur, from Telangana, according to their official letter pad of 13/7/16.

What follows first is an introductory note by the General Secretgary of SIDCA followed by an open letter mercilessly indicts the silence of top church officials, signed by eleven Christian organization. Speaking of Cardinal Cleemis the letter of indictment says: Cardinal Cleemis, the President of CBCI, who went all the way to Kolkata to meet the nun who was in distress (which was very kind of him), and to comfort her, could not find the way to Kadapa to meet and console his own brother Bishop who had to go through the agony of being betrayed and tortured by his own priests.”

To feel the enormity of the pain suffered by the Dalit Catholic community in India, read prayerfully and critically the two letters and make your own judgement about how Catholic, apostolic and holy is the Catholic Church in India.

Dear Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Fathers, Brothers, Sisters and Christian Leaders.

Greetings from South India Dalit Catholic Association (SIDCA). We were very much involved along with Citizen Forum for Justice in the solidarity rally and the public meeting held in Kadapa on 16th May 2016, concerning Bishop Prasad Gallala’s kidnapping.

There was no response from Catholic leadership condemning the incident of brutal violence done by priests even after the “Open Letter” by Fr. AXJ Bosco SJ to his Eminence Cardinal Cleemis (which is attached). We feel disappointed and angry. Like minded 11 Christian organizations whose members felt shocked and sad have signed the enclosed present letter demanding a fitting response to the Kadapa incident.

In Solidarity

E Jayaraj,

General Secretary – SIDCA

Mobile : 8712311112


An Open Letter to His Eminence Cardinal Cleemis, President, CBCI on the Kidnapping of and Physical Violence on Most Rev.Bp.Gallela Prasad, The Bishop of Kadappa, from  AXJ. Bosco SJ, Adviser, Citizens Forum for Justice and Adviser, National council of Dalit Christians sent on May 18/2016.                                      

Your Eminence                                                         May 18th  2016

Peace and Joy of Christ.

You may know that Most Rev. Bp. Prasad Gallela, the Bishop of Kadapa diocese was kidnapped at 11.00 am on 25thApril while he was returning after saying mass in the Marian Shrine; he was blind folded, taken to an unknown place; even while they were taking him, they pushed him down in between the seats and kicked him; later he was beaten brutally; abuses and insults were heaped on him; he narrowly escaped being murdered. They dropped him back at 2.00 am. To add to this heinous crime, they have videographed the ordeal.

We appreciate the Police who acted veryfast. In a couple of days they were able apprehend the culprits. To our shock and shame, it was planned by three priests who hired more than 10 gundas to do the crime.

We had a Solidarity Rally and Public Meeting on 16th May in Kadapa, organized by Citizens Forum for Justice, located in Hyderabad for which I happened to be the Adviser. Most Rev Bp. Prasada Rao, the CSI Bishop of Kadapa was kind enough to give an introductory speech expressing solidarity with Bp. Prasad Gallela and condemning the culprits. With his Prayer, we started the Rally.

About 1500 people participated in the Rally. Except for 10 priests and 8 sisters, they were all Lay people. They were mostly from Kadapa; there were also people from Kurnool, Nellore, Khammam, Vijayawada and Guntur; there were Dalit Christian leaders from Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad.

All the speakers pledged support and solidarity toBp.PrasadGallela; they also affirmed solidarity and unity among us in the Catholic Church, saying that they will stand by justice and equality following our Lord Jesus. They condemned the three priests; like Judas they betrayed Jesus and the Church; they are a shame to Catholic community.

Some questions too were   asked and they need response

When a nun was raped in Kolkata, there were Protest Meetings, Candle Light Processions and, Press Statement in the National Media; it was rightly so. It was great injustice done to the sister and the Church Leadership responded appropriately in condemning the injustice and demanding severe punishment for the culprits. Citizens Forum for Justice organized a Candle Light Rally in Hyderabad; Priests and Nuns in big numbers along with people attended; Muslims too participated in the meeting.

Now a Bishop, the leader of a Diocese has been kidnapped and brutally beaten, neither Telugu Catholic Bishops Council (TCBC) nor the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), nor the Conference of Religious, India (CRI), national or regional, has responded collectively. Is it because Bp.Prasad Gallela belongs to the Dalit Community and the three criminal priests belong to a dominant Reddy caste? Are all the Prayers, Statements, Promises and Assurances of the Hierarchy and Church leaders only in words? Why is the Church leadership frightened or unwilling to act? Are they afraid of their caste communities; or they do not care about the Dalits even if they happen to be Bishops? The sad and criminal event has been published in the media; no significant response condemning the culprit priests or supporting the Bp. Prasda Gallela has been in the national media. You can very well imagine what would the people especially the Dalit Catholics would think and feel about the significant silence on the part of theOfficial Church?

People who gathered for the Solidarity Rally, most of whom were Dalits expressed their hurt, frustration and anger at the inaction of the Church Leadership. We know that there is caste discrimination in the Church and it is a great challenge to the Christian Community inIndia. The question to ask is – if Jesus were to be here what he would have done?

Your eminence, I know that you personally sympathize with DalitChristians. We appreciate you for your stand. When will the Church Leadership collectively respond appropriatelyto the Monster Caste in the Church, which goes against the basic principle of our Lord Jesus – Equality, Justice and Love?

I wish and request, and this is the yearning and desire of all Dalit Catholics, that you direct the CBCI, TCBC and CRI to come together and discuss concrete plan of action to respond to the menace of caste issue in the Church i.e. among the Bishops, Priests and Religious which in turn will have positive effect on the Laity.

It will be very beneficial to trace out the Bishops who are unwilling or unable to respond to the problems of the Priests and the Laity in their Diocese, and transfer them to Dioceses where they may comfortably exercise their call and divine vocation.

I am ready and many other Dalit Leaders too will be willing, to help in this process of bringing about action oriented dialogue, so that we are able to implement concrete actions at all levels in the Church, thus bearing witness to our Lord Jesus and building up a community of love and justice.

Yours in solidarity

AXJ.Bosco SJ

Adviser, Citizens Forum for Justice,

Secretary, SC, ST and BC Commission of TCBC

Adviser, National council of Dalit Christians

Convener for AP and Telengana, Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace

18 – 05 -2016


South Indian Dalit Catholic Association

                                                           Reg.No.723/2016

Alphone G. Kennedy ( Presiden), James Joseph (VicePresident), Cp Chinnayan (Vice – President), Esukala Jararaj (Gen.Secretary), Vijay K. Motghkur (Treasurer)                    

Karnataka – Kerala  – Tamil Nadu  – Andhra Pradesh  – Telangana
Date 13-07-2016

Condemning the Silence of the Official Church on the Kidnapping and torturing up of Most Rev.Bp. Prasad Gallela by three priests.

The updates of the case following the kidnapping of Most Rev.Bp.Prasad Gallela now and then come in the TV and News Papers.Recently the Bishop was called for inquiry to the Police Station.Fr.Raja Reddy, Fr. Marreddy and Fr. Vijay Mohan Reddyhave come out on bail. All these are in the media. The crime and the scandal are talked about openly. But the Church leadership purposely and conveniently keeps silence still.

The Open letter addressed to Cardinal Cleemis, by Fr.AXJ.Bosco SJ, more than a month ago pointed outthe ‘significant silence’ of the hierarchy, CBCI,TCBC as well as CRI.The letter also suggested concrete actions to move forward to dojustice. The excuse in the leadership circle seems to be that it is a family matter and it should not be discussed in public. Though the authorities are very much aware that it is a public crime and a scandal, known to all the people through the social media, “They will keep on hearing and they will not understand, they will keep on seeing and they will not perceive” Mt 13/14.(New American Standard Bible.)

Silence on social discrimination is a crime; it is a sin against God and humanity. Social discriminations are vehemently condemned by secular leaders. But it is shocking that the Catholic Church and its official Organizations have not responded collectively so far in spite of clear indications of caste discrimination in the Bishop’s kidnapping case in Kadapa. Arch Bishop Thumma Bala the president of TCBC,who quickly condemned the ‘heinous crime’ and demanded the Police and the investigating agencies to take care of the ‘safety and security of the minorities’, fell silent, once he came to know, the evil forces behind are the three priests belonging to Reddy community.

It looks as though the united strength and efforts of the leadership of the Catholic Church, come to light only when economic establishments like schools and colleges, are under threat or property tax and FCRA are discussed, not when biblical principles of justice and equality which Jesus cherished and lived for, are at stake. It is utter shame. It threatens the very trust in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The silence of the official church is criminal; their silence speaks louder than words.

Cardinal Cleemis, the President of CBCI, who went all the way to Kolkata to meet the nun who was in distress (which was very kind of him), and to comfort her, could not find the way to Kadapa to meet andconsole his own brother Bishop who had to go through the agony of being betrayed and tortured by his own priests.

It is never too late. For God’s sake do something. Speak out. Silence means that you are abetting the crime and encouraging the criminals.

If you are interested, you may initiate actions that will do good to he whole Church including those suggested to you earlier in the open letter.

In solidarity

 

1.South Indian Dalit Cathollic Association (SIDCA)

Vijay Kumar  Mothukuri
Treasurer – SIDCA

2.United Front for Dalit Christian Rights (UFDCR)

KRW Yesudas IAS Retd.
Vice President – UFDCR

3.National Counsil of Dalit Christians (NCDC)

B. Danam IAS Retd.
President – NCDC

4.Catholic Association, Hyderabad

Advocate James Sylvestor
Advisor – CAH

5.Citizens Forum for Justice

Sleeva Galleli
President – CFJ

6.Telengana Christian Council

Lion C Francis
Gen Secretary – TCC

7.Montfort Social Institute (MSI)

Bro. Vargheese Theekanath
Director – MSI

8.CITRA – Jesuit Social Centre

Fr. AXJ Bosco SJ
Director – CITRA

9.Domestic Workers Movement

Sr. Lissy Joseph
Co-ordinator – DWM

10.Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace

Sr. Manju Kulapuram
National Executive Secregary – FORUM

11.Young Mens Christian Association (YMCA)

Robert Surya Prakash
President – YMCA’s of Grater Hyderabad.

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