The Role of ‘Our Lady of Snows Basilica’ Catholic Church in Anti-Sterlite and other Violent Protests of TN

The TN government, reacting to the shrill criticism from political parties and NGOs, has announced a compensation of Rs. ten Lakhs for those killed in police firing during the anti-Sterlite protests in Tuticorin, and also decided to constitute a Judicial Commission of Enquiry.

The following points bear scrutiny and attention:

  1. It was reported that persons who unleashed violence yesterday had gathered outside the Lady of Snows Basilica.
  1. This is not the first time that this church and other churches have been both in the forefront and behind violent protests in Tamil Nadu over different issues.
  1. This church was behind the violent anti-Koodankulam nuclear power plant protests in 2012 too, and that is why it bears mention that yesterday’s horrific violence in Tuticorin and Kanyakumari was pre-planned – the stone pelting, the burning and targeted physical violence against police personnel on duty. Several police vehicles have been torched, policemen have been thrashed, two of them have been hacked today with a sharp instrument.

Hence this compilation becomes exceedingly important because this violence, like the violence in Jammu and Kashmir, is intended to provoke the army and police into taking resolute action which will then be used for further propaganda against them. Targeting police and army is the first step towards causing tremendous political instability, chaos and anarchy.

The role of ‘Our Lady of Snows Basilica’ church in Tuticorin

  1. While a Muslim mob looks Muslim, a Christian mob cannot be easily identified as being Christian. And that is why the electronic media’s refusal to show the churches from where the padris and co. were plotting their war campaign, the churches which exhorted the faithful to march towards the nuclear reactors, and the churches before which the mob assembled before marching towards the reactor site, is condemnable.
  1. Here are excerpts from news articles which appeared during the 2012 Kudankulam protests –

“Announcements were made by priests in a few churches in the coastal villages of the district on Saturday morning appealing to the “devotees to join the satyagraha on Sunday”. (The Hindu, page 11, Sunday, September 9, Protestors plan to lay siege to Kudankulam site today)

“In Tuticorin a crowd gathered in front of Our Lady of Snows basilica and blocked vehicular traffic. The agitators forcibly took away four police personnel including two women to marriage hall at Periyathaalai and released them in the evening”. (The Hindu, Tuesday September 11, Anti-nuclear protest turns violent)

6. “Innocent” fisher-folks, including fist-waving, leap-frogging, belligerent fisher-women had spread out fishing nets on the sands of Idinthakarai and Kudankulam beach to trap policemen on duty and drag them into the ocean.

Attacking policemen, molesting police women on duty, burning police vehicles and police stations, and making the entire police force the chosen targets for violence has become the trademark of violence across the country and particularly in Tamil Nadu.

7. And where Church ‘activists’ go, Naxals aren’t far behind –

“All the 11 persons arrested by the police at Nanguneri in Tirunelveli district on Friday were remanded to judicial custody till Monday. As the police suspected that the 11-member team, posing as a ‘fact-finding committee’ and heading towards anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project protest hub Idinthakarai, might have links with the banned outfits of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand, they were arrested. (The Hindu, October 14, Detained activists remanded to judicial custody)

  1. Again, all destabilisng, prone to violence political outfits converge here

“Leaders of various political parties opposed to the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) will gherao the Fort St. George on October 29 in support of four Charter of Demands, including closure of the plant.

Talking to reporters, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi MLA MH Jawahirullah (founder of terror group Al-ummah) said that people against the KKNPP were expressing their opposition in a peaceful manner and the government sought to suppress them with the aid of police.

“Police has invoked Sec. 144 in Idinthakarai and neighbouring villages and the entire area looked like a graveyard. It should be immediately withdrawn”, he said.

Mr. Jawahirullah said Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) leader Thol. Thirumavalavan and Periar Dravidar Kazhagam leader Kolathur Mani and many others would take part in the protest.

MDMK leader Vaiko is also expected to join the protestors.” (The Hindu, October 18, 2012, Political parties to gherao Fort St. George)

“Members from various outfits staged demonstrations and road blockades in different locations here on Tuesday in support of the anti-nuke agitators in Kudankulam on Monday.

The Naam Tamilar Iyakkam leader Seeman and his followers were arrested in front of the Railway Junction here, when they attempted to block a train. They shouted slogans against the police for “unleashing violence” against the demonstrators, who were condemning the nuclear project in a democratic manner.

“Even at this stage of filling fuel in the nuclear reactors, the governments can intervene and stop the KKNPP from going critical,” the speakers said.

The Pattali Makkal Katchi president G.K. Mani and his party men staged a demonstration on Scott Road here in the forenoon. They condemned the “unilateral action” of the governments in establishing the KKNPP despite protests from people from different sectors.

The Viduthalai Chiruthai Katchi functionaries also staged a demonstration near Kattabomman statue in Periyar bus stand against the attacks on the anti-nuke protestors in Kudankulam.

The members from Madurai-Ramnad Diocese took out a march holding candles from East Gate to St. Mary’s Church in the evening.

The students from Law College came to the road near the district court area in support of the KKNPP demonstrators. They shouted slogans to drop forthwith the establishment of the nuclear power plant.

The Tamil Desiya Iyakkam and Republican Youth Federation members staged a demonstration and blocked road near Tamukkam area, the police said.” (The Hindu, Sept 12, 2012, Police action against protesters condemned)

“Tension had been mounting in the area after about 4,000 anti-KNPP protesters under the banner of ‘People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) led by S P Udayakumar, moved out of the Church premises from Idinthakarai coastal hamlet, 3 km north of Kudankulam, to the beach some 500 metres behind the N-plant, since Sunday afternoon.

An unruly mob torched few vehicles, ransacked the Kudankulam Panchayat Office and burnt some records, the sources added.

Leaders of various political parties including P Nedumaran of MDMK, Thol Thirumavalavan (VCK),and PMK founder, Dr S Ramadoss strongly condemned the “brutal” police action against the ‘peacefully protesting fisher-folks’ who want the Russian-aided KNPP shut down” (Deccan Herald, Sept 11, 2012, Kudankulum protest turns violent; 1 killed)

  1. Six events in Tamil Nadu’s recent history prove that what seems to be sudden and accelerated Abrahamic aggression in public spaces is not so sudden as generally perceived, but the result of a calibrated and well-planned political strategy –
  • Hundreds of Muslims belonging to Tauheed Jamaat and Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam collecting at the Lalit Kala Academy which was hosting the FACT exhibition on Aurangazeb in March 2008
  • The bloody and violent TN lawyers-police clashes that rocked the state for a greater part of 2008-’09 culminating in the events of February 7-9, 2009 in the Madras High Court; the lawyers were rioting with posters of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabakaran in their hands
  • Paramakudi riots of September 2011
  • Anti-Kudankulam protests in September 2012
  • Muslim riots against an American film allegedly insulting Muslim religious beliefs in September-October 2012

And now the same outfits with a new entrant – Tamil extremist and separatist section of Tamil film world like Ameer, Gauthaman, Seeman, Raghava Lawrence, Bharatiraja, Vairamuthu and the vast, well organized and well funded Tamil diaspora in Australia, Canada, London, New York, Korea, China are all flexing their muscles and unleashing violence in the name of protests for Jallikattu, Cauvery water management board, anti-Sterlite, Neutrino project etc.

10. Within hours of the violence in Tuticorin, a mob in Idinthakarai consisting largely of Christian fisherfolk went on the rampage – same modus operandi.

Announcing compensation of several lakhs of rupees to families of those killed in police firing sends very wrong signals to the same violent mob – that if violence is extreme and there is large scale burning of public property and police stations and government offices, where the police is forced to open fire, then a weak-kneed government will announce compensation.

This causes anger among ordinary law abiding citizens, who struggle to keep their families fed and educated through honest work, besides demoralising the police.


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