Statesman News Service
PARALAKHEMUNDI, Feb. 2. — Tension prevailed in Gummiguda village of Mohona block after hundreds of tribals protested against the management of Asian Mission Field, charging them of mismanagement and misappropriation of church funds.
The centre of controversy has been the construction of a church on a private land in Gummiguda village with the landlord being deprived of the payment. There are nearly 20,000 tribals who are affiliated to this church and are staying in over 80 villages in the Gajapati and Ganjam district.
The discontent is over the fact that a few people started questioning the spending of funds and the funding procedures to the office bearers of the Asian Mission Field, and these persons also informed the donors staying at USA that a large amount of money was being misused.
On 30 January, the donors led by Mr Ron Smith visited the village and were confronted by a huge gathering of tribals most whom vociferously demanded the sacking of the office bearers and the installation of a new team. But the foreigners refused to pay heed to their pleas and it was at the end after the tribals stuck to their stand the donors agreed to investigate into the allegations.
Yesterday, some of the members belonging to the Asian Mission Field formed a parallel body naming Mr Ruben Mandal as their zone president. In a letter sent to different organisations they have threatened not to allow any member from the old body to enter the church and they have also declared to organise their own funding for the running of the organisation.
It may be mentioned here that the Asian Mission Field has been working in this zone for the last one decade and has a good network in over 90 villages and are running schools, hospitals etc.
Surprisingly, the district administration has failed to keep a tab on this controversy.