Updated: February 20, 2020 9:19:32 pm
The Catholic Church of India has called upon the government to engage with communities and “erase the sense of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty spreading in the country, especially among religious minorities,” following the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act.
In a statement issued Thursday following the 34th plenary session of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India–the Indian church’s decision making body–held in Bengaluru, the church reiterated that religion cannot be a criterion for determining Indian citizenship and any attempt to undermine the Constitution must be opposed. In the past few months, several archdioceses across the country have come out in support of protests against the Act demanding its immediate withdrawal.
“Constitutional values formed the ethos of Indian identity, and citizens must be vigilant against any attempt to undermine it,” it said.
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“Attempts to homogenise and impose a mono-cultural pattern pose serious threats to the cultural patrimony of our country… No culture or religion shall dominate over other cultures and religions. Subduing certain cultures by the dominant culture will destroy the peace and harmony existing in the country,” the statement read.
The church also urged the government to ensure that “pseudo nationalism does not continue to give rise to new forms of totalitarianism” stating that dissent should not be misconstrued as “un-patriotism” as democracy cannot be “built on monologues”.
“Patriotism is different from narrow and divisive cultural nationalism, which is radically different from Constitutional nationalism. No one has the right to question the patriotism of any Indian citizen on subjective grounds,” it said.
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