A government-funded Christian centre has been spreading superstition in the Alappuzha district in Kerala. In 1989, the Kreupasanam Marian Retreat Centre and Socio-Cultural Centre was established in the Kalavoor village. The centre is led by Fr. V. P. Joseph Valiyaveetil. The objective of the centre is to develop individuals and society through a religio-socio-cultural movement.
Just a few days back, news broke out that the centre’s propaganda paper known as the ‘Kreupasanam newspaper’ was circulated in a government school in Pattanakkad village in Alappuzha. As per reports, the students of SCU government vocational higher secondary school were told to keep the Kreupasanam newspaper safely with them in order to get higher marks in the exams. Students were told to keep the paper within their books and under their pillow before going to sleep, so as to do well in their exams.
The paper was distributed by a class 8 teacher known as Joseph. He convinced students that the paper did indeed possess such a quality. Enraged parents on finding out about this had complained that the teacher was spreading superstition. Parents have complained to the education department but they are yet to take any action against him. Reports say that the teacher had taken leave by the time the parents had complained.
As claimed by the members of this Christian centre, the Kreupasanam newspaper can be used in many different ways. Here are some testimonials that were posted on its website.
In a shocking case of one such experiment with the ‘miraculous’ Kreupasanam paper, a woman had to admit her 27-year-old daughter to the hospital after she fell extremely sick. As reported by Marunadan Malayali, the woman belonged to a Christian family and was worried that her daughter wasn’t married yet. She wanted to do something to get her married as soon as possible. However, her daughter did not believe in any superstition and despite her best efforts, she couldn’t convince her to indulge in some faith-based act to fix the situation.
The woman then decided to do something about it without her knowledge. Heeding the advice of Fr. V. P. Joseph Valiyaveetil, she bought a Rs 2000 Kreupsanam newspaper. Tearing the paper into pieces she mixed it with the dosa batter and served the dosas to her daughter. The daughter did sense a change in taste but the woman said that it was because she had used cheaper cooking oil which she bought recently.
A few days later, the daughter fell sick. She was suffering from severe itching and vomiting. She was admitted to the hospital where the doctor said that she was suffering from food poisoning. It was only then that the mother had revealed the truth.
As mentioned on the website, this ‘magical newspaper’ is available in both Malayalam and English. More details are available here.
In May 2019, the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishath (KSSP) had filed a complaint with the district magistrate and district police chief against the Kreupasanam centre. As per reported by the Deccan Chronicle, this centre had received 25 lakh government grant to promote the heritage of Chavittuna-takam, a local art form.
In the petition, they said that this money was used by the centre to print and publish ‘Kreupasanam newspaper’, a propaganda paper that talks about miracles. The petition says that the distribution of the paper violated the Drug and Magic Remedies (Objectionable and Advertisement) Act.
The report also says that this paper was widely distributed in bus stops, railway stations, hospitals and other public places to attract the people. KSSP has claimed that hundreds of suffering people were cheated by them.
Unfortunately, Kerala does not have an anti-superstition law. In May, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) had asked the government to enact a law against sorcery and superstitions. This came after a mother and daughter had committed suicide in one such case involving superstition.
As of now only the state of Maharashtra (in 2013) and Karnataka (in 2017) have passed legislation against superstition and bad rituals.
Several Christian bodies in Kerala have been the source of a lot of trouble. Recently, a Church was accused of illegal encroachment on the sacred land of Panchalimedu near the Sabarimala temple. A report has indicated that Evangelists in Kerala are turning jobless after the Modi government’s crackdown on foreign funds.