Thiruvananthapuram: The Council for Laity of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) in a report has highlighted the various issues faced by the people, especially dalit Christians, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
The council submitted a report to the CBCI asking the Church not to identify with any political party. The report focused on the reservation for dalit Christians, crisis in the agricultural sector, the pathetic situation of fisherman community and violation of minority rights.
“Every citizen above 18 enjoys voting right, a sacred obligation we owe to the motherland. While exercising the right to vote, our main criterion has to be who can contribute most effectively to shaping the future of our nation, the report said.
While committees such as ‘Sachar’ were intr-oduced for the betterment of the Muslim community, no committee or commission was formed to study the living conditions and develop welfare schemes for the Christian communities. Even after submission of several suggestions, the Christians are disappointed by the fact that the government is not bothered, said the report.
“The centre should repeal paragraph 3 of the Constitution (Sched-uled Castes) Order 1950 and ensure justice and equality to millions of dalit Christians. The Christian faithful all over the country would stay together and support the dalit Christian community in their fight for justice. The government must protect indigenous cultures and communities, especially the dalit Christians, and extend to them Scheduled Caste status and reservation,” the report said.
Agriculture is the chief means of livelihood for over 70 percent of Indians. Internation-al free trade agreements and lack of adequate supportive measures to safeguard the interests of the farming community constantly worsen the situation.
The Catholic faithful have to seriously consider the imp-act of demonetisation, price fall in the agrarian sector, numerous farmer suicides, issues regarding land ownership, inability of the government to protect farmers and agriculture from wild animals etc. The crisis faced by the fisherman community in the coa-stal areas also deserves serious consideration, the report said....