Working towards resolution of critical issues that affect minorities — such as extending reservation under the Scheduled Castes quota to Dalit Christians, concerns on the Right To Education Act “setting limits to the constitutional guarantees enjoyed by minority institutions” and the Communal Violence Bill — were among the key topics highlighted in the biennial report of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), presented here on Wednesday.
At the inaugural function of the eight-day 30th CBCI meet, being held at the St. John's Academy of Health Sciences, Albert D'Souza, secretary-general, CBCI, spoke about the socio-political situation in the country, particularly the anti-corruption mood and trust deficit in governance.
Criticising the Union Government, he said: “The Government is simply delaying replying to the Supreme Court on issues such as inclusion of Dalit Christians in caste reservations.”
The report by the National Commission on Minorities recommending that converted Dalits not be counted in the caste census was “yet another ploy of the Government to delay its response on the issue”, Fr. D'Souza said, reading from the report.
“While globally the community is being targeted — in China, Myanmar and Pakistan, for instance — in India too, we are seeing hate campaigns, even anti-conversion laws by States that are anti-constitutional,” he explained.
Archbishop of Bangalore Bernard Moras also observed that the State Government had “failed to safeguard the Christian minority”.
Following attacks against Christians in 2008 and 2009, the Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights had been actively engaging with the Government and making representations every time such incidents were reported from across the State.
Highlighting the diversity of the Indian church, Archbishop Salvatore Pinnachio, the Vatican Ambassador to India, said the Church must always “promote sound family values, encourage small Christian communities and befriend the poor and marginalised”.
He too emphasised on the struggle of the Dalit Christians in India to get their constitutional rights.