Christian Council demands Minorities Commission must be reconstituted

PRESS STATEMENT

24 August 2001

Christian Council slams Minorities Commission, demands it must be reconstituted, as it has betrayed Minorities, Dalits and Women victims of Sangh Parivar

The All India Christian Council has sharply criticised the National Commission for Minorities, holding its silence and complicity responsible for encouraging the goons of the Sangh Parivar in unleashing another reign of terror on the Minorities, specially on the Christian community.

In statement issued from New Delhi and Hyderabad, the Council President, Dr Joseph DíSouza, and Secretary general Dr John Dayal, have demanded that the NCM be reconstituted as it has lost the confidence of the Minorities. They also charged the Minorities Commission, specially its chairman Justice Shamim and its Christian Member, Mr. John Joseph, with betraying the Minorities and the Dalits by reneging on their Constitutional duties and acting as a political instrument of the Union Government, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its ideological master, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

The following is the text of the statement issued by Dr. Joseph DíSouza and Dr John Dayal:

The All India Christian Council congratulates the Chairman of the National Commission for Human Rights, former Chief Justice of India Mr. JS Verma, for courageously setting standards of probity and behaviour expected of National Commissions created under Acts of Parliament for the protection and welfare of Indiaís many marginalised groups who suffer violence and terror at the hands of feudal, communal and fundamentalist elements. He has also set out the parameters of Constitutional propriety by refusing to accept nomination to the committee set up by the Government of India to participate in the World Conference Against Racism, Racial discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Discriminations (WCAR) which is going to be held in Durban next week. Justice Verma said the NHRC had not mortgaged its independence, and was not bound by the opinion of the government of India (which has spent much money and energy fighting Indian NGOs who want a global discussion on descent and occupation based discrimination as takes place against Dalits in India and some other countries.) Significantly the NHRC also announced it would go to court if government gave a blanket amnesty to security forces indicted for human rights violations in Punjab.

In contrast, the record of the National Commission for Minorities is pathetic since it was reconstituted by the BJP government with former Justice Shamim as chairman and Mr. John Joseph as the Christian member, among others. From the day it was formed, both the chairman and Mr. Joseph have been subserving the political agenda of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar, and following the dictates of the Central government, particularly the Ministry of Home affairs. The Commission has acted as an instrument of political blackmail, implementing the Sangh agenda.

Repeatedly they have offered a clean chit to the extremists and violent fundamentalists of the Sangh Parivar who have been accused by their victims of attempted murder, grievous assault, coercion and physical threats. Despite appeals and applications, the commission has not bothered to act. In the one instance where it did make a superficial enquiry in Uttar Pradesh, it immediately exonerated the Sangh Parivar which had intimidated the entire Agra-Mathura region in Uttar Pradesh during 1999-2000.

The Commission, and particularly Mr. Joseph, maintained a convenient silence when the Government brought in Budget provisions that severely affected the funding of future educational and medical institutions. It maintained a loud silence when government threatened to drastically alter the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act to choke off funds to inconvenient institutions of the minority communities, particularly of the Christians, Muslims and Buddhists. It was deaf to the cry of the minorities when they sought protection from the unceasing political attacks of senior BJP members. It was a mute spectator to the rewriting of history and the saffronisation of education which had particularly targetted the minority communities

The Commission, and Mr. John Joseph did not speak when the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, in his speech to RSS cadres made libelous statements against Christian missionaries and their centuries old record of service to this country, a charge repeated again by the Home Minister Mr. Lal Krishna Advani. A small community was left to fend for itself, to defend itself against mighty and powerful political forces and Fascist ideologies.

Instead of representing the Minority communities to the Government, seeking enlightened laws and nurturing legislation, Mr. John Joseph has sought to meddle in the internal affairs of various denominations with a view to breaking the unity which had been achieved in the blood of the martyrs and the tears of the victims and rape and assault.

Though he has been rebuffed and rejected by the Christian community repeatedly, Mr. John Joseph has abused his official position, and his official perquisites, to coerce and mislead various groups saying they will be assured peace only they compromise with the Sangh Parivar. There have been many cases where Christian groups, victims of the countryís iniquitous visa and other regulations, have been pressurized into compromising themselves. The Commission and Mr. Joseph have so far not worked towards telling the government to withdraw its communal regulations.

Mr. Joseph has actively campaigned for the ruling group in political elections both in Andhra Pradesh and in Kerala, violating the official politically neutral status of the commission.

The actions and activities of the National Commission for Minorities, and specially Mr. Joseph, pose a distinct threat to the security and well being of the minorities, specially of the Christian community.

With full gravity, the All India Christian Council demands the immediate reconstitution of the National Commission for Minorities, putting on it men and women committed to the secular ethos of the Constitution and the Plural heritage of this great country.

------------------- Released for publication in the media------------------------------

ALL INDIA CHRISTIAN COUNCIL

79/B I&II Floors, Street 8, West Marredpally, Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh

President: Dr Joseph Dí Souza Secretary General: John Dayal

Please correspond with Secretary General at:

505 Media Apartments, Link Society

18 I.P. Extension, Delhi 110092 India

Phone (91 11) 2722262 Fax 2726582 Mobile 09811021072

Email: Johndayal@vsnl.com



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Referred by: Balram Sampla
Published on: 24 Aug 2001
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