Christians ignored at interaction session
Bengaluru: The meeting called by the Karnataka State Minorities Commission under the aegis of the Karnataka State Emblem on December 13 at the Tennis Pavilion, Palace Grounds, Bangalore was taken by prominent Christians as an insult. The meeting involving NGOs, educationists, senior government officers and other Associations to air their views for the socio-economic and educational upliftment of the minorities was an ample proof of negligence of the Christians in particular.
Some of the members of the community felt that It is unfortunate and regrettable that Christians are systematically targeted and deprived of the constitutional rights by successive governments in the state of Karnataka. It was felt that the meeting itself was a ‘hare brained’ idea to have a public interactive meeting in this manner. “We wish somebody reminded the Karnataka State Minority Commission that even Christians, Sikhs, Parsis and Jains also come under the minority community category and need suitable representation. What sort of meaningful interaction could you have in an open platform like this?”, asked Ivan Nigli, an Ex-MLA and a prominent member of the community. “I am in the government circles and also a KPCC secretary and it is an insult to the Christian community that the community members were not informed about this interaction meeting”, he added. Many other Christians in the public space shared Nigli’s views.
A close look at the notice for the meeting confirms the apprehensions expressed by members of the Christian community. Not a single Christian’s name has appeared in the notice with the exception of a minister.
Some Christians who participated in the meeting walked out when they were not given an opportunity to share their views. Rajendra, a Christian activist, said this was an insult and ‘we should not take things lying down.’ “We were all fooled, it turned out to be a platform to showcase only the needs of a particular community and it looked like as if it was the manifesto of a particular party pandering to a particular minority community appeasement,” he added.
Other prominent Christians in the community were upset when they learnt about the discrimination at the meet. Some Christian leaders who managed an entry into the meeting waited till the end for an opportunity to share their views but in the end they returned disappointed as they were denied an opportunity.
The general impression among the Christian community is that the Christian representative on the Commission does not safeguard the interests of the community. The only minority Christian member in the Commission was not reachable for comments. Dr. Robert Anthony Charles, an eminent pediatric surgeon, member of the Christian community said, ‘we must write to the Minority Commission members and raise the issue with them’. Speaking about the Christian representative in the commission, he said – “This is similar to the brown sahib who was appointed by the white rulers and the Indian brown sahib would be ‘whiter’ than the whites, going out of his way to be harsh on the other brownies to impress his bosses”.
It is only appropriate to say that we get the type of government we deserve. It is high time the Christian community asserts their rights and break free from the shadows and shackles of political party sycophancy,” said Ms Kamini Correa. Political parties have succeeded in dividing us on party lines and ensure that no real development of the community happens. “Wake up Christians and stand up for your rights. There is absolutely nothing wrong in being politically well informed. If you do not act now, the generations unborn will never forgive you for the indifference, warned Correa. Let us not forget the fact that the freedom and privilege that we enjoy in society today is the result of the sacrifice of people who walked this land before us,” Correa added.
The Karnataka Minority Commission interaction meeting left the community members with many questions unanswered. Some of them include who organized this meeting and What was the agenda?, said Peter Morris, another Christian leader here.
The leaders of minority community who attended the meeting included Ramesh Kumar, Minister for Health and Family Welfare Department who is also the Chairman of the Cabinet Sub-Committee for the Socio-Economic and Educational Development of Minorities, Minister Roshan Baig, Minister U T Khader, Minister K J George, Tanveer Sait and Naseer Ahmed, Chairman, Karnataka State Minorities Commission, K Rahman Khan, MP besides MLAs and MLCs belonging to the Minority community.
Advocate PM Mathew has started an online petition Equal Opportunities and Justice for Christians on Change.org
The Petition is available at:
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