Puttur: Clash of egos and delay in taking damage-control measures in good time have often taken a heavy toll in the unity and smooth functioning of organizations and institutions.
The parishioners of Our Lady of Virgin of the Poor in Uppinangady, a prominent town lying on the Shiradi route between Mangaluru and Hassan, is a confused, but sad, lot. Dissent, discontent and disunity have been pestering the parish activities in the recent past.
A group accuses the parish priest of not respecting the sentiments of a majority of the community in many matters. For example, in general, there are always two opinions about celebrating the annual parish feast.
The traditionalists want the observance retained around a fixed point of a year because it helps the family members and relatives to converge to renew the bonds.
Those opposing it say that the feast in modern times has lost its meaning and relevance. The occasion leads to needless spending, esp., for such families who cannot afford to spend. By sheer force of circumstances, they have to throw a big lunch to their relatives, even if it comes to borrowing funds.
The group cited first feels that their local spiritual leader takes decisions on his own and imposes it on others. A secret ballot was to be conducted to decide about the need of a feast. But it was not done, but instead a unilateral decision was taken to hold it, much against the majority wish.
As a result of the dissensions, certain unpleasant developments took place on Dec 13. The police had to intervene and they had suggested that a meeting of the church advisory council be convened by Dec 31, but it was not done.
People who are not taking sides, speaking to our correspondent, have felt that the higher-ups should ensure that the matter is sorted out by the persons concerned across the table instead of taking the help of the media or the police.
Washing the dirty linen in public for the sake of personal pride would not bring any credit to the church or its leaders, they feel. Diocesan higher-ups could have intervened by now and sorted out the matter but owing to lack of action, things are likely to take an ugly turn. Both sides could have been summoned to Mangaluru and the issue could have been amicably settled.
The group led by Oswald Pinto met circle police inspector Anil Kulkarni and briefed him over the worsening situation. He also explained that the opinion of the community was not being taken into account.
Disappointed by the apathy shown by the superiors, the group has decided to hold a non-violent protest and lock up the church premises on an appointed day, which could lead to a law and order situation. He also sought police protection to the people.
Those who want peace and harmony in the community are worried about the possible turn the agitation could take on the day. They desperately hope that the church leaders at the diocesan level wake to the situation and take remedial measures immediately.