“No one should be forced to prove one’s nationalism,’’ says CBCI, apex body of Catholic Church in India

“The Minority Communities should feel secure in the country and no one should be forced to prove one’s nationalism,” said the apex body of the Catholic Church in the country – Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) – in its “Sankalp Patra” for 2019 Lok Sabha Polls.

Adding that nationalism is in the blood of every Indian, whether belonging to majority or minority community, it said that no one should alienate anyone on this basis.

“Lynching in the name of differences in religious practices, food habits and cultural differences have considerably dented the credibility of the government, and made the minorities feel unsafe. The Constitutional right to practice, preach and propagate one’s religion must be upheld,” said the recommendation letter sent in response to the government’s invitation for suggestion and proposals.

Warning that there “should be no centralisation, commercialisation and communalisation of education,” the report, prepared by Fr. Joseph Manipadam, secretary of CBCI Office for Education and Culture, said that “there should be no saffronisation of textbooks or distortion of historical facts.”

“The government should acknowledge the valuable contribution of the Christian Missionaries in education in India right from the year 1542,” it said. “Even today, they run the most sought after institutions in the country. Promote them and involve them in drafting the National Education Policy. Include them in the Standing Committees and accreditation bodies [and] use their experience and time-tested expertise,” it added.

CBCI, which has more than 20 million members, has also spoken out about what they feel is the “suppression of national institutions and autonomous bodies (UGC, Universities, Colleges, CBSE, NCERT, Various Examination Boards, IITs, IIMs, CBCI, ED, Judiciary etc).”

“They should be allowed to function without restraint and should not be suppressed or substituted. People have more faith in autonomous bodies than government offices,” the statement said.

The release, issued by Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of CBCI, said that the priority of the government should be employment, housing, education and food security for all.

“Government needs to bring in an overall inclusive approach. Unprejudiced treatment, supportive attitude, appreciation towards all and celebration of differences can contribute to restore confidence in the minority communities,” said the report.

CBCI has also demanded the revival of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI).

“It is still without a chairperson and a Christian member for the last [sic] more than three years. Facilitate issuing the Minority Certificates by the State Minority Commissions and the NCMEI without too many hassles or allow the National Bodies of the minority communities to issue such certification as they know best regarding the minority status of each institution,” it said.

Asking the government to promote diversity not uniformity, the group said that the government must protect indigenous cultures and communities.

“Take special care of the dalits, the tribals, the poor and the marginalised. Extend scheduled caste status and reservation also to Christian and Muslim dalits. Eviction, displacement and land alienation of tribals and forest dwellers should be stopped. Caste system and untouchability should be abolished and violations should be made punishable,” it said.

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Printable version | Mar 27, 2020 3:17:40 PM |

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