UPDATE: Request for inquiry into abuse of Fr. Pallath


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-01-2002

Dear Friends, 

We would like to send you a copy of the 17th open letter sent by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to the Jesuit superior general in Rome regarding Fr. Pallath’s case. 

Readers are encouraged to write New Year’s greetings to the Jesuit superior general and indicate similar concerns as those expressed by former Supreme Court Justice V. R. Krishna Ayer. 

For further information, including this letter and all details abut the case, please visit http://jjpallath.ahrchk.net. 

Thank you. 

Urgent Appeals Desk 
Asian Human Rights Commission 

Seventeenth Open Letter to Jesuit Superior 

(This is the seventeenth of a series of letters on the issues regarding the treatment of Fr. Pallath J. Joseph of the Kerala Province of Jesuits in India.) 

January 17, 2001 

An Open Letter to: 
Rev. Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach 
Superior General 
Curia Generalize 
Compagnia di Gesu 
C.P. 6139 
00195 Roma Prati ITALY 
FAX: 39-06-686-8214 

SEVENTTENTH OPEN LETTER RE: Physical Assault, Slander through the Gutter Press, Filing of Fabricated Criminal Cases, Denial of Right to Livelihood and Other Matters Relating to Fr. Pallath J. Joseph, REQUEST FOR AN INQUIRY: FORUM OF RELIGIOUS FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE AND MOST RESPECTED VOICE ON HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES IN INDIA, FORMER SUPREME COURT JUDGE V. R. KRISHNA AYER, CALL FOR AN INQUIRY 

Dear Rev. Fr. General, 

May I wish you a Happy New Year. I am sure Christmas time would have been a happy one for you. It must have been a prayerful one too. The unresolved issues of the past surely would have bothered your conscience as well as that of others. Now, therefore, is a good time to resume our expression of concern on one issue: the unfair treatment of Fr. Pallath J. Joseph of which you are well aware. During the last few months, we have done even more research on this issue, and we have good reason to urge you to deal with this matter. We thus resume our correspondence on Fr. Pallath’s case. 

The details about the violations mentioned above have been stated and repeated in the earlier 16 letters to you. 

At their annual meeting last year, the Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace (FORUM) called on everyone, including yourself, to take steps to settle the case of Fr. Pallath in a spirit of reconciliation by appointing a committee of inquiry that is acceptable to all parties. It was also suggested that all parties should accept the decision of this impartial committee. (The full text of the FORUM’s recommendations was provided in my 14th letter to you.) Fr. Pallath has agreed to this proposal. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) commends the FORUM for its courage to intervene in this matter and its wisdom in making these suggestions, and we urge you to take this opportunity in a spirit of reconciliation. The inquiry, as suggested, will provide an opportunity to study this matter thoroughly and to encourage the better side of all parties to deal with this complex problem. Such an outcome as recommended by the parties will also be helpful to the Catholic community and the human rights community in Kerala and to all those who are aware of this problem. 

In addition, Justice Krisner Ayer, the most respected voice of conscience in the Indian subcontinent and a former Supreme Court judge in India, has added his voice of concern and support on this matter. The full letter issued by him is reproduced below. 

V. R. Krishna Ayer 
Fax and Telephone 0484-370088 
(Former Supreme Court judge) 
M.G. Road 
Kochi 682011 
E-mail: krisna @md3.vsnl.net.in 

Observations on Fr. Pallath’s Expulsion without Reason 

Where there is a duty to speak, one is guilty if they remain silent. I believe that every universal religion should observe the noblest principles of natural justice, including the obligation to be heard before action is adversely taken and reasons stated in support thereof. Mark Twain long ago said: 

¡§It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and the prudence to practice either of them.¡¨ 

In this view, prudence means silence and is evidence of cowardice. I do not feel it just to keep my mouth shut when someone like Fr. Dr. Pallath J. Joseph has been the victim of a violation of natural justice. Christianity stands for the best aspects of humanism, and no one shall be condemned without convincing reasons and a due hearing. Therefore, I appeal to the concerned echelons of the Society of Jesus to reconsider the case of Dr. Pallath, not because I am a Christian who is offended, but because I am a human who is hurt when human dignity and divinity is ignored. I say no more than to plead for reconciliation, which is the finest mood of tolerance. Let us humanise our religions on basic principles so that there can be universality in the mutual respect that every religion owes to every other. This spirit prompts me to make this humble comment in the matter of Dr. Pallath. 

V. R. Krishna Ayer 
November 10, 2001 

Once again, we urge you to respond positively to this call for an inquiry. Thank you for your further consideration to resolve Fr. Pallath’s case.

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-01-2002
Countries : Sri Lanka,