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Kerala Christians oppose Gadgil report

Feel it could decimate the livelihoods of thousands of farming families in the district

Gulf News

Thiruvananthapuram: Christians in Kerala’s hilly Idukki district have voiced strong concern over implementation of the Madhav Gadgil Committee report, which the community feels will adversely affect the livelihoods of thousands of people in the district.

In a pastoral letter read out during Sunday Mass today, the Syro Malabar Catholic church called for a rejection of the Gadgil report, which would decimate the livelihoods of thousands of farming families in the district. The church suspects there is a conspiracy behind the report.

The church’s pastoral letter says it cannot agree with attempts to implement “environmental fundamentalism”, but was agreeable to the idea of viewing environmental protection as part of faith in God.

The Madhav Gadgil report has been prepared with the objective of protecting the Western Ghats’ ecology, and recommends zoning of 75 per cent of the Western Ghats into different grades of ecological sensitivity. The Syro Malabar church fears many of its members who are long-time farmers in Idukki district will be deprived of their land and face eviction if the Gadgil report is implemented in principle. Kerala’s legislative assembly had also witnessed discussion on the contents of the Gadgil report.

Incidentally, the pastoral letter by the Syro Malabar church came out during the very weekend when Kerala got a new cardinal when the Vatican installed Major Archbishop Baselios Mar Cleemis as cardinal. The 53-year-old Mar Cleemis is also the youngest cardinal in the Catholic Church.

Back home in Kerala, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church celebrated its 1,960th year in the state today and the centenary of the establishment of the church’s Catholicate. The church claims to have laid roots in Kerala in AD 52. The church invited the Dalai Lama to inaugurate its historic celebration.