Kasturi Report: Catholic Church Conveys Concern to Sonia Gandhi - The New Indian Express

Kasturi Report: Catholic Church Conveys Concern to Sonia Gandhi

Published: 20th December 2013 10:02 AM

Last Updated: 20th December 2013 10:02 AM

Catholic Church leaders have appraised UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi about the concerns of the people over the Kasturirangan panel report on conservation of Western Ghats during their recent meeting with her in New Delhi, Archbishop of Latin Catholic Church Soosai Pakiam said here on Thursday.

Soosai Pakiam, along with heads of the other Catholic denominations - Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry of Syro-Malabar church and Major Archbishop Cardinal Baselios Cleemis of Syro-Malankara Chruch, had met Sonia on Tuesday.

“We are not for the outright rejection of the Kasturirangan report. We demanded that a team of top officials should visit the hilly areas surrounding the Western Ghats and take a first hand account of the concerns of people residing in the area,” Soosai Pakiam told reporters on being asked about the Delhi visit.

Clarifying that the Catholic Church was not against conservation of the environment, Soosai Pakiam said that the concerns of the people are genuine.

“While some people manage to find loopholes in conservation laws, it’s the poor people in the hilly areas who end up losing their livelihood and their entire life’s savings,” Soosai Pakiam said.

The Archbishop added that the church leaders have briefed Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V Narayanasamy and Defence Minister A K Antony about the people’s concerns.

Asked about the statement of the Bishop of Thamarassery that implementation of the panel report on conservation of Western Ghats will lead to bloodshed, Soosai Pakiam said the intention of the church was not to instigate violence.

“It was an expression of solidarity with the people and should not be seen as a call to indulge in violence,” the Archbishop said.

“The church condemns violence of any form,’’ he said, when asked about the torching of a Forest Department office in connection with protests against the Kasturirangan report.

“There might be elements with vested interests who turned the protests into acts of violence,’’ he said.

On asked about the ongoing siege of the LDF at the Chief Minister’s residence, the Archbishop said that though everyone has the right to protest, it should not end up causing inconvenience to the public.

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