UPDATE (INDIA): Fr. Pallath begins indefinite hunger strike


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-28-2002
ISSUES: Labour rights,

Dear Friends, 

We are forwarding you the first updates of Fr Pallath’s hunger strike for justice, provided by EES Calicut. We will keep you updated on this case as the events unfold in coming days and weeks, in the hope that you will continue any efforts you may be able to make on Fr. Pallath’s behalf and in the interests of promoting human rights amongst the religions of Asia. You may refer to AHRC’s website related to this case for further information: 

Urgent Appeals Desk 
Asian Human Rights Commission 


If the sharpened ears of the top brass of Kerala Jesuits order on the other side of the wall (that separates the provincial headquarters of the Kerala Jesuits from the temporary shed put up to shelter Fr. J.J. Pallath as he sits on his indefinite hunger strike) were waiting for incensed voices hurling accusations and bravado, they were in for a surprise. What greeted them instead from the venue during the function marked to launch the indefinite hunger strike of Dr. J.J. Pallath, were tranquil Ghazals rendered by Najmal Babu, Calicut’s best known classical voice. It was as if the sobering effect of the music was meant to soothen the senses and awaken the spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness. 

Before that the octogenarian Journalist Shri Theruvath Raman, recognised as the conscience of Calicut, assisted by leading trade unionist Shri A Vasu and noted Gandhian Shri Thayat Balan led Fr. J.J. Pallath onto the fasting bed. In a brief address, Shri Theruavath Raman pleaded for reinstating justice and fairplay in dealing with matters related to Fr. Pallath. Shri A Vasu reminded Fr. Pallath that in struggles meant to uphold justice and truth there is never a failure. Shri Thayat Balan reminded the audience of the last minute conciliatory efforts that proved futile against the obstinacy of the Jesuits. Shri M.A Johnson, Adv. Shivan Madathil, Shri P.J. Sebastian, Dalit Christian leader Shri Jose, fish workers’ representative Shri P.T. Moitheen Koya, leading trade unionist Shri Moyeen Bappu, women’s activists Ms. Victoria and Ms. Suhra spoke on the occassion. 

Calicut – May 13th 

While Fr. Pallath’s indefinite hunger strike enters the third day today, Jesuits from all over the state are descending on Christ hall Calicut for the tri-annual province meet of the Kerala Jesuits. It may be noted that the Province meet was put off from its earlier set date last year as the steering commitee constituted to organise it last year reported to the Jesuit Provincial that the most profound issue affecting the Jesuit order is the aftermath of the dismissal of Fr. Pallath and its impact on the morale of the members be discussed. The response of the Provincial was to postpone the meet altogether. 

At a distance of no more than a hop, step and jump from their meeting place lies fasting Fr. Pallath, and the fast is sure to find reverberations at the Province meet. Several Jesuits are said to be highly incensed about the fact that the latest reonciliatory move by the leading lights of Calicut’s cultural scene, which suggested that a committee consisting entirely of Jesuits themselves be appointed to decide on the fairness or otherwise of the decision, was spurned by the superiors. 

*** Please send a copy of your letter to AHRC Urgent Appeals: 
Email: <ua@ahrchk.org> 
Fax: +(852) – 26986367 

Please contact the Urgent Appeals coordinator if you require more 
information or wish to report human rights violations. 
AHRC Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission 
Unit D, 7th Floor, Mongkok Commercial Centre, 
16 – 16B Argyle Street, Kowloon, HONGKONG 
Tel: +(852) – 2698-6339 
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E-mail: ua@ahrchk.org 

Please contact the AHRC Urgent Appeals Coordinator if you require 
further information or to make requests for further appeals.

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-28-2002
Countries : India,
Issues : Labour rights,