A Roman Catholic church in Chennai has denied access to their cemetery to bury a boy. The 8 year old boy died in an untoward accident in the school premises. While the accident shocked everyone in Tamil Nadu and revived the conversation around safety in schools, an RC church reportedly denied access to burial ground saying his family does not pay subscription. A CSI church also made them run from pillar to post to prove that they belong to their denomination.
Theekshith, a 8 year old boy studying in a private school in Chennai died in an unfortunate accident in which the school bus which dropped him ran over him inside the school campus. His father Vetrivel is a Hindu and his mother Jenifer is a Christian. The mother has told media that as per the boy’s wishes they wanted to bury him in a church cemetery. The RC church she approached not only denied access to the cemetery but wouldn’t let them hold a prayer meeting either.
Talking to media she said, “I am a Christian and my husband is a Hindu. My son likes both religions but he likes Jesus more. So i wanted to bury him as per Christian customs and approached the nearest RC church. But they denied space in their cemetery saying we don’t pay subscription”.
Then she approached the Church of South India, a protestant denomination, which asked her to get a bonafide from Madurai church to confirm that they are followers of the denomination. The church told her that only if she produces the bonafide space will be allotted for the boy in their cemetery. The mother was distraught with grief as it is and expressed her displeasure at both churches’ behaviour. The family had tp move through many places as the parents were transferred often.
It appears that they went to the CSI church in Chennai and paid subscription there. The aggrieved mother said “Should I have to go from place to place with the lifeless body of my child to get the certificate? It is distressing that churches denied help in such a situation. I don’t want such a religion”. “What kind of Christian are you if you don’t even give space for burial?”, she questioned her fellow Christians.
She accused the RC church of reacting the same way when her mother died. Revealing that many of her extended family members are pastors, she said that the near by RC church refused to even conduct a prayer meeting when her mother died. The agitated mother asked, “Don’t you feel ashamed as Christians? My father was a Hindu and my mother was a Christian. But your disgusting behaviour! I’m going to throw away the Jesus photos in my house. What are you doing in the name of Jesus? Discrimination, discrimination, discrimination… What is there to be proud of in being a Christian?”.
Evangelist convert innocent Hindus alleging that they face discrimination in Hindu Dharma. Politicians backed by them declare in open that only by destroying Sanatana Dharma such discrimination will be abolished. But even though there are caste differences between Hindus, each community has their own burial or cremation space. There are also government allotted public grounds where any Hindu from any caste can bury their dead. But Christians feel it is important to bury their dead in church cemeteries.
There are numerous denominations which demand separate cemeteries for their dead. As Christians only follow burial, it takes up more land. Due to this issue, and to keep their flock, churches collect subscription and fee for allotting space in cemeteries. In 2020, a Christian doctor who died of Covid-19 too was denied burial space in a cemetery belonging to the CSI church in Chennai.