Change of names due to conversion to other religion: Talacauvery priest’s daughters face problems to claim compensation
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Change of names due to conversion to other religion: Talacauvery priest’s daughters face problems to claim compensation

August 27, 2020

Madikeri: The daughters of Talacauvery Chief Priest Narayanachar and Shantha Achar have not been able to receive compensation from the Government disbursed to the victims of natural calamities due to a technical reason as they have changed their religion after marriage and have changed their names. 

The State Government has released a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh to the two daughters of Narayanachar and Shantha Achar. The cheque has been handed over to Namitha Achar and Sharada Achar. Both of them are settled abroad.

After the landslide at Talacauvery buried their parents alive along with three other persons on the midnight of Aug. 5, the daughters arrived at Talacauvery and lodged a complaint at Bhagamandala Police Station stating that their parents are missing. In their complaint, the two daughters had mentioned their names as Namitha Achar and Sharada Achar. 

After an FIR was lodged and during the search operation, the bodies of Narayanachar, his brother Ananda Theertha and Assistant Priest Ravikiran Bhat were traced and the family members performed last rites but the remains of Narayanachar’s wife Shantha Achar and Assistant Priest Srinivas Bhat could not be traced. 

As the bodies could not be traced, Kodagu DC Annies Kanmani Joy submitted a report to the State Government about the rescue operations at the landslide site including day-to-day activities, number of persons and equipment involved, names of missing persons and their belongings and other such details. In her report, the DC requested the State Government to consider this as a special case and sanction compensation to the families of missing persons.

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Following a Government order, Madikeri Tahsildar released the cheque of Rs. 5 lakh (Rs. 2.5 lakh each to Narayanachar and his wife) and the same was handed over to the priest’s daughters by Kodagu District Minister V. Somanna. 

The cheques were, however, returned to the Bhagamandala Deputy Tahsildar by the priest’s daughters who said that they had married 20 years ago and had changed their names to Namitha Nazareth (Namitha Achar) and Shenon Fernandes (Sharada Achar). They requested the Deputy Tahsildar to release the cheques in the changed names as they have the same names in their bank accounts.

The issue was brought to the notice of the DC who directed the Tahsildar to examine the records and take a suitable decision and issue the cheques as they are eligible for the Government compensation.

The State Government has released Rs. 2.5 lakh cheque as compensation to Susheela, the sister of Ananda Theertha. This was objected to by the priest’s daughters who claimed that Ananda Theertha was staying with Narayanachar who took care of him for decades. The daughters argued that the compensation granted to Ananda Theertha rightfully belonged to them (Namitha and Shenon) and not Susheela.

Following this development, the DC told the priest’s daughters that the compensation will be handed over to those who submit their claims along with valid legal documents.

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