Minorities panel opposes NCW’s suggestion to ban church confessions
The minority commission’s vice-chairperson, who represents Christians on the panel, has written to the Prime Minister and the Union home minister, urging that no action should be taken on the demand to proscribe confessions.Updated: Jul 28, 2018 21:45 IST
The National Commission for Minorities has opposed a recommendation made by the National Commission for Women to ban the Christian practice of confessions, following two scandals where priests allegedly blackmailed and raped women by using their confessions.
George Kurian, the minority commission’s vice-chairperson who represents Christians on the panel, has written to the Prime Minister and the Union home minister, urging that no action should be taken on the demand to proscribe confessions.
The women’s commission’s recommendation to ban Church confessions is part of its latest report submitted to the home ministry. It cited a scandal in Kerala, where the police booked four priests of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church on July 2 on charges of raping and molesting a woman after blackmailing her.
“The women’s commission has made four recommendations as I understand. I have objected to and opposed only one, which is the recommendation to ban confessions,” Kurian said.
Confessions (a sacramental act of admitting one’s sins) are an integral part of the Christian faith, Kurian said. “Banning them will directly violate the right to religion, a fundamental right of all citizens.”
The NCW report also cited the case of a Bishop of Jalandhar, accused by a nun of raping her on several occasions, commission’s chief Rekha Sharma said. The nun contacted police on June 27.
The four recommendations of the women’s panel include investigation by a national agency into the Kerala case, abolishing confessions, time-bound charge sheet, and help to the victim.
Both the NCM and the NCW are statutory bodies.
The minorities’ panel has six members, each representing Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains.
Kurian said in case priests were found guilty of any crime, “law should take its own course”.
First Published: Jul 28, 2018 17:29 IST