TAMIL NADU

Minorities' forum to support DMK-led front



Special Correspondent

"AIADMK has gone back on promises"

CHENNAI: The Federation of Minorities Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry has pledged its support to the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) in the May Assembly elections.

"We have decided to support the DMK-led front as the AIADMK Government has consistently gone back on all its promises to the minorities. Despite several assurances, the anti-conversion Bill has still not been fully repealed (it was allowed to lapse). The (AIADMK) Government has also gone back on its promise in its 2001 poll manifesto that Muslims would be given separate reservation. On the other hand, the UPA Government at the Centre (of which the DMK is a constituent) has taken several steps for the welfare of minorities," Peter Fernando, president, Tamil Nadu Catholic Bishops' Council, told reporters here on Wednesday, after the Federation passed a resolution supporting the DMK front. The forum was representing 80 lakh voters from minority communities, he added.

The forum also passed a series of resolutions demanding, among other things, separate reservations for Christians and Muslims, bringing in a constitutional amendment to include Dalit Christians under the scheduled list, preparing a White Paper on the violations of constitutional rights of minority educational institutions, a public declaration from the DPA that it would not strike up an electoral alliance with the BJP in the future and the inclusion of at least 12 percent of Christians/Muslims among the candidates lists of DPA partners.

Hyder Ali, general secretary of the federation, A.M.Chinnappa, archbishop of the Madras-Mylapore diocese and Ezra Sargunam, State organiser of the federation and representatives of various minority organisations were also present.

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