CATHOLIC UNION CONDEMNS THREATS TO ARTISTES, WRITERS AND INTELLECTUALS
CATHOLIC UNION CONDEMNS THREATS TO ARTISTES, WRITERS AND INTELLECTUALS
AICU deeply concerned at unabated lynchings, hate speeches inciting violence, and government’s failure to check communal polarization
MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 20, 2017
[The following press statement was issued at a press conference in the Mumbai Press club by Mr Lancy D Cunha, the National President of the All India Catholic Union, and dr John Dayal, Official Spokesman and former President. The press was also addressed by Mr Dolphy D’Souza, Former National vice president and former President of the Bombay Catholic Sabha and Mrs Rita D’Sa, president of the BCS. The 97 year old AICU celebrates its 100 years in 2019.]
The All India Catholic Union, the country’s largest movement of lay Christians, is deeply concerned at the government’s failure to condemn and contain the threats to freedom of expression in the country. The threat to the the life to the artistes and director of the period drama film Padmawati, to the OBC writer Prof Kancha Iailiah, and the social media threats to activists Kavita Krishnan, Kavita Srivastava and others reflect a speedy breakdown in the rule of law.
The continuing hate speeches by leaders of the Sangh parivar, among them senior members of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the total impunity have triggered the lynchings of Muslims and Dalits in the name of the cow in states stretching from Assam to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Religious minorities are being coerced, threatened and targeted by religious and cultural-nationalists.
The recent double episode in Madhya Pradesh where the police dragged out Christian children from trains and arrested their trip escorts is evidence of how state police and justice systems are targeting the Christian community. In both these cases, false cases of forcible conversion were made.
Such incidents do not augur well for the freedom of religion in India. The situation is aggravated by several recent steps taken by the government, including the enforcing of the NEET admission tests which deeply impact the future of minority students seeking admission in professional education institutions. The proposed new National Education Policy continues as a threat with reports of rewriting curricula, and the corporatisation of education.
A small example of government’s indifference to the sentiments of religious minorities is the 12 % tax imposed on Wooden Crosses and Rosaries, the prayer beads used by Catholics as part of their religious practices. We demand the GST be removed on all religious artifacts.
The Catholic Union has been in the forefront of the rights of Dalits and Tribals, specially those professing the Christian faith. AICU has filed a writ in the Supreme court together with others demanding Scheduled Case rights for Dalits professing the Christian Faith. We hope the courts will take a decision at an early date as this impacts the civic and human rights of a large number of people in the community.
The AICU executive is meeting in Trichy in December to further refine its programme to celebrate its centennial in 2019.
Released to the Media by the official Spokesman, Dr John Dayal. He may be contacted at +91 9811021072 email@example.comJohn Dayal
GOD AND CAESAR SYMPOSIUM
AICU – GOD AND CAESAR SYMPOSIUM – 19TH NOVEMBER 2017 AT MUMBAI
God represents spirituality and not religion as most of us are prone to think. Caesar represents life in all its facets be it civic, political, social human rights and justice. Christ has not discarded the Caesar effect when he said, “Give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God”. But given it’s due importance.
Religion and politics should be separate. But by religion we mean the narrow belief and groups (followers) that are formed around it. Politics cannot be separated from spirituality or there would be chaos. We are against a theocratic state and expect all religions to be treated equally
How do we respond to this challenge is a complex issue that confronts the community in India? Perspectives and responses vary not just per denominations or Rites or regions but by social and economic standing of the community or the victim.
Are there other ways of responding to the challenge from a perspective of the citizens of a democratic republic, basing resistance and cooperation on the Constitution and the rule of law? How does the community fulfill its obligation to the government and to fellow citizens, especially vulnerable religious minorities?
Four distinguished speakers who have excelled in their field showed the way of evolving community focus on this topic. -
Bishop Dabre the Bishop of Pune dwelt at length on the contribution of the Catholic community in various areas of social emancipation, health and education. He gave examples of Gonsalo Garcia, Rani Maria.....to render to God one must know the history of the catholic church in India....6 cardinals, 90000 nuns and 30-35000 priests. Allan Hume founder of the Indian National congress was a catholic. Catholics have served in the Armed forces, civil services, legislature’s courts etc. we also have an example of Fr. Jerome D’souza....
Justice F.L Rebello the ex-Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court dwelt at length on why are we facing the brunt of persecution? and cautioned all that if freedom is threatened everything will be lost. Although there is a Fearless judiciary there is a need for a strong rule of law. Art 14-23 of Constitution provides us our fundamental rights. However there are still 3 broad challenges: common civil code, conversion bill and right of communities after conversion which requires to be dealt with by taking all communities into confidence, consultation and debate in order to arrive at a mutually acceptable law concerning these challenges.
Mr. John Dayal a Social Activist review of the present governments treatment and attitude towards the minorities and their communal leanings resulting in the victimization of the minorities was an eye opener and then dwelt at length on who will guarantee that there will be a constitution in 2020 by taking into consideration the present governments policies that favor Hinduvta against all the other religions being practiced in India. He gave the audience the pros and cons with examples on - Can we follow God under some form of Caesar? And posed the question - Are we as a community working to face the challenges of the future?
Mr. Albert D’souza Chairman of Model Bank and an educationist traced the historical background of the founder, F.A.C Rebello and the business contribution of various Christians and informed the audience that there was only one catholic company in the +2000 turn over group followed by a handful in the +500 turnover group with a little improvement in the +100 turn over group and quite a few in the +10 crores group while from the other communities there were many in the +2000 to +500 crores turn over group. We need to take calculated risk in order to be positioned in the +2000 to +500 crorers group turnover. He explained the need on how do we enhance economic power of the catholic community as most of our highly qualified and skilled members are migrating to western countries to work in large MNC which is kind of feeling safe rather than staying in India and starting a business which amounts to Catholic brain drain rather than taking a calculated risk in opening a business back home in India and developing it into a large turn over and for this we need to reverse brain drain or this trend and ensure that after completing their studies in western countries they should return to India to either continue and develop their family business or start a business for which the Catholic banks are willing to assist at every step.
This was followed by a question and answer session which was well taken by both the audience who had many queries and speakers who responded patiently and professionally.
With this centenary program of AICU Mumbai partnered by BCS we have made sincere efforts to enhance the quality of evolving community focus on these issues and hope that it will provide a platform to share knowledge and expertise and critical review of these issues leading to a define goal for our community.