For this senior Kerala officer,IPS is also Indian Pastoral Service

Policeman becomes priest on Catholic TV,home secy says ‘no comment’

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Published:February 3, 2012 2:41 am

Kerala additional director-general of police Alexander Jacob,IPS,could well have been Indian Pastoral Service. The service doesn’t exist,of course,but for half an hour every night on TV,the policeman is the padre.

For the past three years,Jacob,Kerala ADGP (Prisons),has been preaching the gospel and praising the lives of saints on the Catholic station Shalom TV. New half-hour episodes of his ‘Njanavachassukal’ (Wisdom Words) programme air every Saturday,with nightly reruns through the week. The 1982-batch IPS officer was a speaker at a famous annual gospel convention at Puthenkurisu near Kochi last year.

Jacob has not sought the government’s permission for his evangelical mission; he said no prior permission was required for taking part in scientific and cultural programmes.

The All India Services (Conduct) Rules,1968,bar officers from being involved with “sponsored media”,including “privately produced radio or television or other media programme” without permission,but allow “occasional work of a literary,artistic or scientific character”.

Asked how preaching the Bible or saving Christian souls qualified for this exception,Jacob said,“I understand the programme Njanavachassukal falls within the category of scientific or cultural programmes said in the service rules.”

Home Secretary K Jayakumar said officers did not indeed need permission to participate in scientific and cultural programmes. “But I have to look at the programme on Shalom TV to say whether the ADGP’s talk enjoys immunity under these heads.”

Asked if he thought it was proper for a senior IPS officer to preach religion,Jayakumar said,“As home secretary I have no comment on that.”

The Shalom Trust which runs the Catholic television station began as a prayer group of priests and Catholic laymen in the north Kerala village of Peruvannamuzhi in 1989,and aspired to spread the word of God through mass media. Shalom TV,advertised as ‘God’s own Channel’,launched in 2005.

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