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Sunday, June 4, 2023

Christian man denied burial space as son married Hindu girl

A Christian man was denied burial in Tamil Nadu as his son married a Hindu girl. Their family was secluded from the village and they were stopped from entering the local church. Police resolved the issue through a peace talk after the son threatened legal action.

John Peter, a mason by profession and a native of RC Colony in Kottur, Theni passed away on May 16 due to illness. He is survived by his wife and three sons Arulanandam, Amalrayan and Aron. While the first two serve as a cop and a professor, Aron works as a driver. Aron fell in love with a Hindu girl and married her a few years ago.

Since then their family was treated as untouchables by other Christians in the village. They were secluded from society, denied entry into the local church and were asked to fall at the feet of ‘elders’ of the village in public to reconcile. As per the custom, the local church rings the bell to announce the death of one of its community to call others for the funeral. When John Peter’s sons asked the church administration to ring the bell the church administration refused to do so citing that Aron violated their code by marrying a Hindu girl.

They were again forced to apologise in public. But Aron rejected the demand and threatened to deal with it legally. As the news reached the district administration, ADSP, DSP, Panchayat President and other officials held a peace talk with the parish priest and other members of the church administration to solve the issue. As a result, Christians agreed to let John Peter’s remains be buried in the church cemetery.

The cemetery and his house have been provided with police protection to avoid any untoward incidents. Even though cops resolved the burial issue, the so-called elders warned other Christians that they should not attend the funeral or communicate with Aron’s family. They also said that allowing John Peter’s burial doesn’t mean that his family can mingle with others. 

The more curious detail of this incident is that the concerned family belongs to a Scheduled Caste as per a Vikatan report. The Hindu daughter-in-law also reportedly belongs to the same caste and yet everyone objected to the marriage as she is not a Christian. While Dravidians wax eloquent about what a casteless, religionless society Tamil Nadu has, a family is harassed at their most vulnerable moment just because they accepted a Hindu daughter-in-law.

In 2020, a prominent neurologist was treated in a similar manner when different Christian denominations denied him burial space after he died of the COVID-19 virus. His family had to run from pillar to post to give him a decent burial.

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