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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Christian clergy running Kerala Govt. Child Welfare Committee dismissed for helping priest hush-up rape

A rape accused priest in Kerala is getting help from all arms of the Church and even sections of the state it seems – first it was the Church hierarchy, a Christian hospital and a Christian orphanage who were accused of helping ‘Father’ Robin Vadakkancheril hush up his rape of a minor girl; now even the Government appointed Child Welfare Committee of Wayanad district is under the cloud for covering up this crime.

As per this Times of India report

“The Social Justice Department has formally removed Wayanad Child Welfare Committee (CWC) chairman Thomas Joseph Therakam and member Betty Jose from their posts and the responsibility has been handed over to the CWC in Kozhikode. The other three members of the CWC also have been temporarily kept in abeyance from the CWC pending inquiry, according to a circular issued by social justice department secretary Mini Antony.

The official circular in his regard was issued on Monday night, after they were accused of helping Fr Robin Vadakkancheril alias Mathew Vadakkancheril, the former parish vicar of St Sebastian’s Church at Neendunoki in Kottiyoor, who is accused of raping the minor girl.

The charge against them is that they helped the accused in hushing up the case. Though the newborn of the rape survivor, who delivered on February 7, was taken to Holy Infant Mary’s Foundling Home, which is part of the Holy Infant Mary’s Girls Home at Vythiri in Wayanad, the same night, the CWC signed the surrender document only on February 20. Though the CWC said the process was as per procedure, an inquiry found serious lapses. The foundling home, which is also facing charges in the case, had raised charges against the CWC.

Meanwhile, four persons, including three Catholic nuns, accused of trying to help hush up the case, have moved anticipatory bail applications in local courts on Monday. The move comes after police registered cases against them under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Sources said that three staff members of the Christu Raj Hospital in Koothuparamba in the district, where the girl delivered a baby, gynaecologist Tessy Jose, administrator Ancy Mathew and paediatrician Hyderali, moved the bail plea at the additional sessions court-1 at Thalassery.

The fourth person, Sr Ophelia, the superintendent of Holy Infant Mary’s Girls Home, moved the bail plea at the additional sessions court at Kalpetta in Wayanad. Sources said the courts are likely to hear the pleas on Tuesday.

There are eight accused in the case now, including Fr Robin. Meanwhile, police have moved a plea in the additional sessions court to get Fr Robin in their custody for further questioning. Though there are reports that another priest helped him in getting an air ticket to go to Canada, in his foiled bid to flee the country, as of now the investigation is focused on the accused already named.

Police have also taken into custody the vehicle which was used to shift the newborn to the foundling home. Police said the vehicle belongs to a convent at Kallumutti, near Iritty in the district. Two nuns from this convent — Sr Anitta and Sr Liz Maria — had taken the baby in this car.”

More details about the CWC members

What the above TOI report fails to inform is that the dismissed Wayanad Child Welfare Committee (CWC) chairman Thomas Joseph Therakam and member Betty Jose are actually Father Thomas Joseph Therakam and Sister Betty Jose, i.e. official Church clergy who were somehow members of a powerful government body (CWC) as well!

Both of them have been charged by police and were absconding for some time, before surrendering on 17 March and obtaining bail.

Sr Betty, Sr Ophelia and Fr Therakam surrendered before the police in Kannur. Source: http://english.manoramaonline.com/news/kerala/kottiyoor-rape-accused-fr-therakam-sr-betty-surrender-priest.html

What is a Child Welfare Committee (CWC)?

As per the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 (amended in 2006) State governments are required to establish a Child Welfare Committee (CWC) or two in every district. Each CWC should consist of a chairperson and four members. The chairperson should be a person well versed in child welfare issues and at least one member of the board should be a woman. The CWC has the same powers as a metropolitan magistrate or a judicial magistrate of the first class. As per the provisions of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), the Government of Bharat provides grants for setting up of CWCs.

Questions must be asked – how did Christian clergy get appointed to such a government post in Kerala’s Wayanad district? How many more Christian priests and nuns are involved in CWC and other Government bodies in the social sector in Kerala and across the nation? Is this largesse to Church officials a result of Kerala politics being dominated by the ‘secular’ Congress and CPM parties? Is this not a breach of secular principles for our intellectual class, who are quick to take up arms at each and every utterance of a sadhu/sadhvi even remotely linked to BJP?

That our activist / NGO complex is heavily infiltrated by Church and foreign-funded missionary elements is a badly kept secret of Lutyens’ Delhi. This well-researched article shows how the idea of social justice has been appropriated by the Generic Church to became a unifying force bringing together Christians of various denominations on a single platform, working for a common goal: global evangelization through Social Justice. This article by the diligent @by2kaafi exposes how FCRA-NGOs abuse the PIL process to subvert Bharat’s public interest.

This NGO complex is far more organized, better resourced, politically connected, and more media savvy than common citizens, and hence continues to exercise disproportionate influence on our legislature, executive and judiciary. The immense clout of the Christian Church, across denominations, in Bharat should be a matter of concern for all citizens because unlike loosely coupled, grassroots Hindu groups, the Church is a well-organized hierarchical structure swearing allegiance to a foreign body – Vatican in case of Catholics, and US/Europe based Churches in case of Protestants.

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