SALEM:Tension prevailed for a few hours in Kichpalayam after news spread that a large gathering of women had assembled at a local church on Wednesday.
According to sources, several women, including many from the Muslim community, took part in a meeting at the Jeeva OoliyaThiruchabai giving rise to speculation that they were about to be converted. On receiving information, members of Tamil Nadu Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (TMMK) assembled in front of the church and staged a protest. Arguments continued even as pastor K G Issac explained to TMMK members that apart from Muslims, there were Hindu women attending the meeting. Meanwhile, officials arrived at the spot.
TMMK’s spokesperson H Shahul Hameed charged that the pastor was luring Muslim women with inducements and trying to convert them. Following this, officials conducted enquiries and it turned out that there were 71 women belonging to Christian, Muslim and Hindu communities inside the church. It was further learnt that pastor KG Issac was originally a Muslim and had converted before establishing the Pentecostal church three decades ago. The women who attended the meeting were from Kaliya Gownder Thottam, who were servant maids, beedi workers and some running petty shops.
Explaining the background for the meeting, Issac said the women had petitioned the Collector on March 16 seeking free housing patta. Officials had identified land in Seelanickenpatti which comes under Salem south taluk. At the taluk office, it was however informed that the land was under the BC Welfare Department and the Revenue department could not allocate it for the petitioners and they were asked to approach the former, Issac said adding that it was regarding this issue that the women had gathered and the CPI functionaries were invited to give suggestions.