‘Who Is The Real Owner of the Jeppu Compound’ ask Helpless Residents
Mangaluru: In Bible a proverb states- “For what profits a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul”. Similarly “If I had won that cabinet seat race I might well have gone on to “gain the whole world” and lost my own soul. And for that matter, the following story is one more example to match this Bible saying, “For what profits the Catholic Diocese/concerned people if they gain the whole 48 acres of Jeppu Compound property, but lose their own soul? :
Addressing the media persons during a press meet held at Mangalore Press Club, Valerian Texeira, a resident of Jeppu Compound-Mangaluru said, “Around a hundred years ago, locals, mostly Hindus, belonging to the lesser castes and economically backward, were converted to Christianity by foreign Jesuits, and rehabilitated in the ‘Jeppu Compound’ – an area of around 40 acres, around the Jeppu Seminary. St Joseph’s Industrial Asylum Workshop (popularly known as the ‘Seminary Workshop’, which was also established to provide employment to the destitute converts – hence named ‘Asylum Workshop’.”
“In 1968, Jesuits transferred their responsibilities of these people and their properties, to the Diocese of Mangalore. Suddenly, there was a sea-change in the attitudes and motives of the rulers (the church), as against the service-zeal of the Jesuit missionaries, the Diocese of Mangalore began indulging in crass commercialization –Trees were felled, plots cleared and sold to outsiders (illegally); Walls were built across the age-old road used by the people of the ‘compound’ and huge chunks of land usurped by the managements of – (a) the Seminary, (b) the Workshop, and, (c) the Sisters of Charity; Scores of houses of the native settlers removed, rendering them homeless, and huge commercial buildings erected, such as the Mangala Hotel Building, Shalom Apartment Complex, Maria Jayanthi Hall etc; fetching the Diocese, crores – without a paisa going to the converted natives – the real owners,”added Texeira.
Valerian further said, “And all through the years, though the ‘Diocese’ has no proper records to claim ownership (this has been revealed and proved by a heap of information collected, in reply to our numerous queries filed under RTI) – it has exercised absolute authority by evicting original settlers, binding others with an illegal ‘Perpetual Lease Agreement’, closing down a school and the workshop and leasing out, selling and renting out huge properties for huge sums. In all this, both – (a) the natives (the converts), and (b) the new settlers who were cheated into buying plots, paying big sums of money, without proper records – feel lost and cheated. It will not be wrong to say the head of the Diocese is the biggest and the most oppressive landlord of Mangaluru – exercising authority over thousands of acres of land and owning properties worth hundreds of crores.”
While concluding Texeira said, ” Now, the festering issue has reached a boiling point. Aware that a revolt is brewing and that the scams of the Diocese will finally be exposed, the Bishop, through the manager of the workshop, has issued ‘Eviction’ Notice to two natives.( Valerian Texeira and Victor Pais) They have been particularly targeted because they are the leading RTI activists of the compound and have gathered information of the land scams of the diocesan authorities, and have complained to the centre, state and district authorities. Having suffered indignity for years on end, all under the garb of religion and religious authority, the residents of the Jeppu Compound (both natives and new settlers), unanimously say –“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”
Speaking to Team Mangalorean, a bevy of residents who had attended today’s press meet said, “They want -Immediate withdrawal of the Eviction Notice served on Valerian Texeira and Victor Pais; The Diocese of Mangaluru to stop exercising its illegal authority over the Jeppu Compound. All the residents, natives and new settlers be given their legal rights over their house property; Until such time that the complaint filed with the DC., regarding the Diocese Land Scam is disposed off, all land transfers and dealings with regard to Revenue Account no. 56, be stopped forthwith; The church should overcome its greed for land and property and instead of behaving like a ruthless landlord, harassing the poor and the hapless, should, in the true Christian spirit, practice love, charity, compassion and humanity”.
“And in the event, the above demands are not met, we shall fight this injustice tooth and nail, until such time that justice is obtained. In this our just struggle, we seek the support of every justice-loving citizen – irrespective of caste, creed or religion”, said the Jeppu Compound residents. Victor Pais, Wilson Baptist, Ms Enid Texeira and Cecilia Pais- all residents of Jeppu Compound were also present on the dais during the press meet.
Note: The contents incorporated in the above report are solely the statements made by Valerian Texeira and couple other Jeppu Compound residents- and are NOT those of Team Mangalorean.