Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 15 IANS | 11 months ago

Following an apology over an article from the chief editor of the mouthpiece of the Syro Malabar Catholic Church to him, union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh said the issue has been closed.

Ramesh, in a letter Wednesday to the supreme head of the church, Cardinal George Alenchery, said he has received an apology from the editor of "Laity Voice" on the contents of his editorial article on the Western Ghats and is satisfied by editor V.C. Sebastian's explanation. He said he would treat the matter as closed.

"I have the highest regard and respect for your church which has done so much for the socio-cultural development of Kerala. It caused great pain and anguish to write to Sebastian and I am grateful to you for your intervention," said Ramesh in his letter to the cardinal.

In the latest issue of the church magazine, it was alleged that Ramesh was a board member of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (Atree) that received crores of rupees in foreign funds on the pretext of protecting the Western Ghats.

Ramesh expressed his displeasure over the allegation and said he would take legal action against the chief editor for defaming him if the statement was not withdrawn in two weeks.

Sebastian, in his letter to Ramesh Wednesday, said he was extremely sorry for hurting Ramesh's feelings and offered an apology.

"In my article, I used some material that had appeared in the national media and what appeared was my personal opinion not that of the church," Sebastian's letter said.

(Posted on 15-01-2014)

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