Vijayan submits before pressure, not to proceed with bill seeking transparency in Church affairs

Facing widespread protests from Christian groups cutting across denominations, the Kerala State Government led by CPI-M’s Pinarayi Vijayan has decided to not proceed with Kerala Church (Properties and Institutions) Bill, which seeks to bring transparency in the functionimg of Christian institutions.

Critics of the Bill alleged that it was a ploy by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front government to control the Church administration ahead of the general elections, and threatened to mobilise members of the community against it. Christians form 18.3% of the state’s population.

Leading the agitation against the Bill is the powerful Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Conference, which raised questions about the Commission’s intentions. “Neither the Catholic Church nor any recognised Church organisations had demanded such a Bill,” it said last Friday.

With the Lok Sabha elections round the corner, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan declared on Saturday that his government was not planning to implement the proposed Bill. “Rumours are being spread to alienate Christians from from the Left Democratic Front,” he said at a pre-election campaign rally in Thrissur.