Kollam: The Latin Catholic Church diocese on Sunday came out with a pastoral letter which vehemently criticised the central and state governments for trying to destroy the fishing sector.
The pastoral epistle read out in its parishes pointed out that the state government had tried to sell out the sea in a covert manner. The government had to withdraw from the contract it had signed with the EMCC company following strong protest. The government’s enactment of a legislation was aimed at stealing the sea and marine resources from the fisher folk, the epistle said.
“The government’s attempts were to destroy fisheries sector in the name of tourism and development. We should fight against such government policies unitedly,” the pastoral letter said.
The letter was again critical of including the fishermen’s housing scheme under the Life Mission scheme, causing the fishermen to lose the additional advantage.
The letter also pointed out that the government had amended the Kerala Marine Fisheries Regulation Act of 1980 in 2018. On September 24, 2020 an ordinance was issued on fish auction and quality maintenance without making any efforts for consultation with the stake holders.
The letter was also critical of the central government’s granting approval for mining in sea under the blue economy project. It has alleged that Kerala’s own ‘army” was being pushed down to the sea of neglect.
The pastoral letter was read out by parish priests in all its churches under the diocese. Hundreds of parishioners who participated in the holy mass expressed concern over the move to destroy the livelihood of the fisher folk on the Kerala coast. Kerala Latin Christian Association (KLCA) also has taken up the issue for discussion.
However, it may be noted that neither the Kollam Bishop nor the parish priests have tried to link the issue with the upcoming elections.
During the elections, the Church leaders many a time had come out with reading pastoral letters on various issues with emphasis on favouring particular candidates or political party. This time, it has expressed only its apprehensions about the government policies and the need for the faithful to maintain vigil against attempts to destroy their livelihood.
The Latin Church’s stand is important as it can impact the poll outcome in some of the constituencies bordering the coastline. In the constituencies like Kundara, Kollam, Iravipuram, Chavara, Karunagappally and Chathannur the stance of the fisher folk and Latin Church will have a considerable effect.