Goa Archbishop urges Centre to revoke citizenship law

Joining hands: Sanvidhan Bachao Samiti and residents of Malwani in Mumbai form a human chain to protest the CAA, the NRC, and the NPR on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Aadesh Choudhari

Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao, has urged the Central government to “immediately and unconditionally revoke the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)” and stop quashing the “right to dissent”. He also appealed to the government not to implement the proposed countrywide National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR).

However, Goa Bharatiya Janata Party’s general secretary Narendra Sawaikar asked why the Archbishop was opposing the CAA when “crores of people including Goans” were supporting it.

Diocesan Centre for Social Communications Media, a wing of the Goa Church, in a statement on Saturday, said, “The Archbishop and the Catholic community of Goa would like to appeal to the government to listen to the voice of millions in India, to stop quashing the right to dissent and, above all, to immediately and unconditionally revoke the CAA and desist from implementing the NRC and the NPR.”

The laws are “divisive and discriminatory” and will certainly have a “negative and damaging effect” on a multi-cultural democracy like ours, the church said.

There is serious concern that the NRC and the NPR will result in “direct victimisation of the underprivileged classes, particularly Dalits, adivasis, migrant labourers, nomadic communities and the countless undocumented people who, after having been recognised as voters for more than 70 years, will suddenly run the risk of becoming stateless and candidates for detention camps,” it said.

There has been widespread discontent and open protests throughout the country and even abroad against the CAA, NRC and NPR, which are “forecasting a systematic erosion of values, principles and rights” that have been guaranteed to all citizens in the Constitution, the release said. Eminent citizens, including top intellectuals and legal luminaries, have taken a studied and unequivocal stand against the laws, it noted.

“We have always taken great pride that our beloved country is a secular, sovereign, socialist, pluralistic and democratic republic,” the church said. The very fact that the CAA uses religion goes against the secular fabric of the country, it said.

“It goes against the spirit and heritage of our land which, since time immemorial, has been a welcoming home to all, founded on the belief that the whole world is one big family,” it said.

However, Mr. Sawaikar questioned the Archbishop’s reasons for opposing the Act and tweeted, “Archbishop says that #CAA should be withdrawn as it is being opposed. My question is Why? When Crores of people are supporting #CAA, including Goans. (sic)”

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 10:23:54 AM |

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