March 12, 2019 3:40:50 am
THE Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the decision-making body of the Catholic Church, has said the BJP’s poll manifesto should focus on upholding the constitutional rights of minorities, adding that “no one needs to prove one’s nationalism”.
“Nationalism is in the blood of every Indian, whether belonging to majority or minority. No one should even doubt such a thing or alienate anyone by being suspicious. No one needs to prove one’s nationalism. We have all contributed towards the independence, development, progress and welfare of the country in its onward journey,” the CBCI said in its ‘sankalp patra’ suggestion submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Video: Why First-time Voters Are Important In This Lok Sabha Elections
“Suppression of the media, lynching in the name of differences in religious practices, food habits and cultural differences have considerably dented the credibility of the government and made the minorities feel unsafe,” it said. “The minority communities should feel secure in the country. The secular nature of the country, democratic principles, constitutional values, republic character, parliamentary traditions should be upheld. Minority rights are basic to the Indian Constitution and they have to be preserved and promoted,” it said.
“The government must respect the sacred days and celebrations of all religions and support, participate and promote such events. The various religions are an asset to the country and uphold the morality and spiritual wellbeing and ethics in the country,” it said.
The CBCI also said that national institutions and autonomous bodies like the UGC, CBSE, NCERT, IITs, IIMs, CBI, ED and judiciary should be allowed to function without “restraint and should not be suppressed or substituted”. “People have more faith in autonomous bodies than government offices,” it said.
“The government must focus on a hunger-free society, poverty alleviation, protection of the farmers, promotion of agriculture and care of the rural areas as India lives in its villages,” it said. “There should be neighbourhood schools, and not composite schools, and they should be inclusive. There should be no centralisation, commercialisation and communalisation of education. There should be no saffronisation of text books or distortion of historical facts,” it said. It said the new government should revive the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI), which does not have a chairperson or a Christian member for the last three years.
The Church leaders made the suggestions at a meeting convened by the BJP to take inputs for its manifesto.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.