Tamil TV channel under fire for ‘degrading’ bishop, nuns

Coimbatore (Story – Matters India): Priests, nuns and lay people of Coimbatore Catholic archdiocese Saturday staged a demonstration to protest a private television program that denigrated the Church.

Vicar General of Coimbatore Fr John Joseph Stanis, who led the protest, said that the agitation was to condemn defamatory remarks. “They were one sided statements and the channel did not approach us to verify them. This has tarnished the image of the church and hurt the sentiments of believers,” he told The Hindu .

The protest took place at St. Michael’s Cathedral Coimbatore. The protestors claimed that the program hurt their sentiments. In the television program a 40-year old woman alleged that a Catholic priest had misbehaved with her 18-year-old daughter before murdering her on the premises owned by the church near Walayar in Palakkad District in Kerala in July 2013.

The program further added that the parents were afraid to send children to the schools run by priests after the incident and also made defamatory remarks against the bishop and priests. The two-hour program was aired in two episodes in the evening on July 15 and 16 – and re telecast in the morning the next days.

Fr Stanis said that the priest Arokiaraj, who was accused of involvement in the incident, was dismissed under the Canon Law on moral grounds on charges of misbehaving with the girl.

Stating that it was up to the police to inquire and find out the ‘mystery’ behind the girl’s death, he said that the church was ready to cooperate with the police for inquires in connection with the allegations posed by the woman (Shanthi Roselin). The vicar general said that the church would file a defamation petition against the television channel.

Earlier this week, Roselin lodged a complaint with the city police alleging that a few persons – instigated by the accused priest damaged her house and threatened her a day after the first episode was aired.

Based on the complaint Ukkadam Police have registered a case against six persons under sections 147 (rioting), 294B (obscene language), 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) and 506 (ii) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

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