Tele-evangelist Paul Dinakaran changed village name to Karunya Nagar- villagers protest

After the recent IT raids in the premises of Karunya University, Jesus Calls Ministries and other properties of Paul Dinakaran, a well-known tele-evangelist, his attempts to change the demographics and the name of the village where the university is located has come to fore. Locals have alleged that the original name Nallur Vayal of the hamlet has been changed to Karunya Nagar and even government offices go by that name.

Jesus Calls Ministry and Karunya University are the two big money minting machines of the Dinakarans with crores of money pouring in from both inside and outside Bharat. Both the institutions have FCRA NGOs in their name and receive funds from their US counterparts. The university was established in 1986 by Paul’s father DGS.Dhinakaran who was a bank employee before founding Jesus Calls. The University operates in a 750 acre property which is in the middle of the elephant corridor.

The villagers allege that in the 1990s people from Jesus Calls tried to usurp the land around the university and converted the tribals living there. It must be kept in mind that Isha Yoga centre is also located near Karunya University and often receives flak for encroaching the elephant corridor. Smear campaigns are launched often to discredit Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev’s work to prevent conversion of tribals.

When they couldn’t convert locals in large numbers, they allegedly brought Christian students from other states and districts and enrolled around 1000 of them as voters in the constituency. It is said that the Dhinakarans also nominated a Christian candidate for the local body elections and tried to make him win with the help of outsiders. However, contrary to their expectations students rebelled against it and the candidate lost as per locals’ account. Dhinakarans and their associates also tried to mess with the census by showing only a small number of tribals living in the area. Tribals’ numbers were recorded only in the 100s in the census while there were 1000s of them living there at that time.

Village name changed to Paul Dinakaran's Karunya University
A new name board has been placed with the original name of the village Nallur Vayal. Highway milestone and an old name board with the name Karunya Nagar can be seen behind the new board

But it was taken to the court and the issue was resolved so that it remained a panchayat reserved for tribals. They even tried to remove the tribals from their residential area which also failed. Yet they succeeded in changing the name of the village to Karunya Nagar with the help of corrupt government officials and their political clout. Now even the post office, police station, telephone exchange and other government offices use the name Karunya Nagar instead of the original name Nallur Vayal.

Villagers of Nallur Vayal have been protesting for a longtime to revert back to the original name. The protests have gained momentum after the IT raids in Karunya University from where 5kg unaccounted gold was seized by the officials. Villagers have formed Nallur Vayal Protection Committee to reclaim the village’s original name and to revert back to its roots. Local body representatives have passed a resolution to change the name used in public places and government offices.

Villagers planned to take out a march and replace the name board on the highway but police denied permission for the march. However, local media has reported that the district collector took note of the incident and spoke to the representatives. As there are government records mentioning the village’s name as Nallur Vayal, they are hopeful that they can change it back to its original name.


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