After the issue of the new Chennai Mayor being a crypto-Christian rocked social media, she has visited a temple to show that she is a Hindu. But Vatican News, the official media of the Pope itself has published an article titled “In India, a Dalit Christian appointed mayor of Chennai”.
Chennai Mayor Meets Bishop
Priya Rajan, a 28 year old DMK member was elected as the new Mayor of Greater Chennai Corporation recently. DMK had passed an order to reserve the post for SC women in January and a lot of noise was made about how DMK ensures social justice. However after Priya Rajan met ECI bishop Ezra Sargunam, a virulent hinduphobic and church planter, it came to notice that she is a converted Christian. The pictures of her meeting Ezra Sargunam and praying went viral in social media. The bishop was and is a close associate of late M Karunanidhi and MK Stalin.
As demands to nullify her appointment intensified, she claimed that some over enthusiastic Christian priests claimed her as one of their own. Talking to Tamil daily Dinamalar she said, “It is true that I went to churches in election time to campaign. I went to temples and mosques as well. Some portray me as a Christian based on the photos taken during my campaign when I met priests to seek their support”.
Fr.Vincent Chinnadurai, the ex-spokesperson of TN Bishops Council had put up a banner congratulating her in front of the Chennai Corporation office on the day of her swearing-in. Terming is as “over enthusiasm” and mistaking her as a Christian she said that DMK high command has assured her of legal help to tackle the issue. She alleged that some of her own party men, unable to bear the thought of a “Dalit woman” getting the post, are smearing her name.
Vatican News Hails Her As a ‘Dalit Christian’
She accused them of joining ands with BJP and spreading information that she is a member of Evangelical Church of India and asked proof for the same. While we cannot confirm her accusations, we can independently verify that it was a reliable Catholic news portal that revealed the information first. Union of Catholic Asian News was the first to report that she is s “Dalit Christian” and “said to be a member of ECI”.
But as the report went viral following the pictures of Priya Rajan praying with bishop Ezra Sargunam, UCA News had edited the report and deleted the part “said to be a member of ECI”. However the official news portal of Vatican, the Vatican news itself has published (archive) a report confirming the same. A report titled “In India, a Dalit Christian appointed mayor of Chennai” in Italy was published by Vatican News on March 9. A similar report titled “In a first, Dalit Christian woman appointed as Chennai Mayor” was published on the same day.
Should we, like Priya, innocently think that even Vatican was over enthusiastic to publish such a report? Shouldn’t Priya be asking for proof from the Christian priests and portals who claimed her as one of their own instead of accusing BJP? Despite all this, she had visited the Kalikambal temple in Chennai in a not-so obvious attempt to allay the rumors that she is a Christian. Unfortunately for Hindus, she holds a Hindu Adi Dravidar certificate, and was allowed to have darshan at the temple.
NGO Writes to National Commission for SCs
SC ST Rights Forum, and advocacy organisation working to protect the rights of SC, STs has written to TN Chief Secretary seeking to order an inquiry into her appointment. The organisation has also written to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes seeking to take action against Priya Rajan for misusing privileges accorded for the SC community.
The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 unambiguously states that, “No person who professes a religion different from the Hindu (the Sikh or the Buddhist) religion shall be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste”.
The provisions of reservation were conceived by Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar in the Constitution of India only for a period of 10 years, from 1951-1961 and meant only for SC,STs but the Mandal Commission extended it to include the Other Backward Classes too in 1990.
Interestingly, the Church claims that Christianity does not have any ‘caste system’ and runs propaganda of discriminatory ‘caste system’ in Hindu Dharma to convert marginalised sections of Hindu society through coercion and deceit by way of offering money, employment, health care, etc.