“Claiming that they’ve been facing harassment at the hands of the Bishop and the Mangaluru Diocese, local Christians are up in arms against the Church’s alleged profiteering from land that they claim is theirs,Mangalorean has reported.
In an ‘open letter’ to the Bishop, an association representing Jeppu compound residents in Mangaluru has accused the Diocese of “evicting natives, selling plots to outsiders, building Commercial Complexes and Apartments, leasing out, renting-out properties, and pocketing crores in the bargain.”
The association has claimed that the Diocese has no legal title over the lands and has proof to substantiate the claim through documents procured by RTI activists Valerian Texeira and Victor Pais.
The letter states that the lands were acquired free of cost from the government for the rehabilitation of natives – lower-caste Hindus converted to Christianity, in the form of grants to Jesuits, and the missionaries and the Diocese never paid any money for ownership of the land.
However, since taking over from the Jesuits, the letter reads, “..crass commercial consideration became the sole motive force of the administrators, leading to a period of chaos, use-misuse-abuse of power and authority – resulting in scams, forgeries, fraud, and illegal transactions – all for monetary gain.”
The letter, highlighting the plight of the converts, says “They were uprooted from their original religion (Hinduism), their mother language (Tulu), and their traditions and culture (Local Hindu Tulu Culture), enticed into becoming Christians, and in the course of a generation, were left to fend for themselves.”
“To add to their woes, they were given fancy surnames such as – ‘Spinoza’, ‘Ornello’, ‘Careira’, ‘Rebimbus’, ‘Ozario’ etc. The shame and the inferiority that we people have had to experience is only next to the humility and indignity that Jews suffered under Nazi Hitler.”
The letter again stresses that the locals have proof of the fraud committed and requests the issue to be settled within a month’s time.
This comes in the wake of several Dioceses in India being featured in the news for all the wrong reasons, from trying to influence voters in states about to go to polls to sexual abuse charges on priests.”