Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Douglas Williams should clarify where he and the Church stood on the issue of bauxite mining by a company in remote tribal area of Orissa (India) in which Church of England reportedly had a financial stake and which the environmentalists described as devastating to the area environment.
Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that Church of England should practice what it preached. Its Environmental Policy stated: “The whole creation belongs to God. As human beings we are part of the whole and have a responsibility to love and care for what God has entrusted to us as temporary tenants of the planet. We are called to conserve its complex and fragile ecology, while recognising the need for responsible and sustainable development and the pursuit of social justice.”
It has said, “We are not consumers of what God has made; we are in communion with it”, and “…challenge itself and all members of the Church of England to make care for creation, and repentance for its exploitation, fundamental to their faith, practice, and mission…”
Rajan Zed pointed out that Church of England was member of Church Investors Group (CIG), an ecumenical gathering of 37 investors connected with the Churches of Britain and Ireland launched in 1973, which encouraged members to “formulate policies relating to investment that are based on Christian ethical principles” and which seeks to “reflect the moral stance and teachings of our faith in our investment portfolios”.
Zed also asked the CIG to investigate whether Church of England’s investment in this concerned multinational mining company (headquartered in London) met the “ethical principles and moral stance” set-up by CIG. The Church of England has reportedly about 4.1 million dollars stake in this mining company.
According to reports, area tribes view the mountain where mining is proposed as sacred and they have stressed that their traditional and sustainable lifestyle and culture would be disturbed by mining. Environmentalists have asked for a halt in this project arguing that the area is ecologically sensitive and mining would result in displacement, deforestation, affecting water sources, wildlife and ecosystems destruction, water pollution, complicity in human rights violations, etc. Area is said to be home of some endangered species.