Bengaluru: George Kurien, vice-chairman, National Commission for Minorities, New Delhi, urged the Christian minority community to make use of funds available to their community at the installation ceremony of office bearers and managing committee of Bangalore Malayalee Catholic Association (BMCA) , here on Sunday, July 9.
George Kurien was the chief guest at the event.
At the proramme, George, an advocate by profession, said 80% of the fund available for minority scholarship was not made use of by Christians. Charges were leveled against a particular community that all the funds were going to them. "However, not even 20% applications were received from Christians," he pointed and appealed to the members of the Christian community to apply for scholarship and avail the funds.
He also asked those present to take advantage of Usdar which is a training programme, giving Rs 25,000 for a student.
He expressed surprise that no Christian applied for the civil service exams which doles out Rs 50,000 to each student.
When confronted, the former Union Minister O Rajagopal, told George Kurien who was the then Kerala State General Secretary of Yuvamorcha, that he had taken an oath and was a central minister and respected all people belonging to different religious faiths. To which, George Kurien said, “I am proud to be a Christian, Malayali and an Indian. The present situation speaks about concerns and intolerance. At a meeting of all denominational Christians in which bishops were also present, among some of the questions that came up included one that enquired 'Are you deciding what food to eat and are you stopping the foreign contributions'."
George Kurien said he resigned from all political posts on May 20 and was now only the vice chairman of National Minority Commission. Now, he does not need to report to any political parties but only to Parliament.
"If any members of the minority community face problems or attacks, the local DC and SP would be contacted to take action. Still not satisfied, the aggrieved party would be called to Delhi and the Commission could take steps to issue warrants against the perpetrators of violence and attacks. When reports reached his office about attacks on Christians, no one, including the local bishops, was aware of any such attacks or brutality inflicted on any minority Christians," George Kurien, who was also Yuvamorcha national secretary, national vice president, Minority Morcha spokesperson BJP Kerala, national executive member BJP and BJP state vice president, said among other things.
Earlier, all the office bearers both present and outgoing were called to the dais. After an invocation by Tina Jacob, the outgoing president of BMCA, Biju Thomas, welcomed the chief guest, guests of honour and all others. All the guests were presented with bouquets.
In his parting words before changing baton of responsibility to the president, Biju said that he and his team performed numerous activities that were not done in the past 61 years of BMCA’s history. He said he remained contented. "This was the first time three guests of hour were invited for a programme of this sort," he said.
"We had a brain-storming meeting as soon as we took over one year back. We went for contemporary changes such as adopting Facebook as a portal, creating a website, sending sms, uploading photos of events and giving importance to charity. A committee was constituted to execute the decisions," outgoing president Biju added.
The achievements included a marathon run for HIV infected poor kids among others, which collected Rs 6,00,000. The team distributed wheelchairs at St John’s Medical College Hospital. BMCA also carried out blood donation camps at different localities of the city and managed to find 400 donors during the same. BMCA also performed celebrations, sports and cultural programmes to which eminent sports persons and actors were invited.
Celine Kunjukunju, one of the patrons installed the new office bearers who stood with lit candles. Speaking on occasion, Celine said, "The Association started in 1956 is a social association ready to serve the needy in emergency situations and wherever need is felt. It is a great honour to render dedicated service to fellow beings more than any other organisations do," she said and called for cooperation, dedication, sacrifice and unity among the members at all times.
Celine, patron of various organizations and a social worker herself exhorted the 8 new teams to strive towards ‘formulation, execution and revival (of all sectors), and to grow to greater heights by being industrious and an idealist'. "A leader must have compassion, perseverance and confidence. One should have also a sense of tolerance and forbearance to do the utmost," she said, asking the new teams to raise their right hand and affirm their consent and implore divine light for guidance and direction.
Dr Stephen Alathara, deputy secretary general, Conference of Catholic Bishops in India, in his brief talk appreciated the great works of charity by the members of BMCA. Dr Alathara, an author of 12 books and hundreds of articles, columnist, educationist, theologian and visiting professor in various ecclesiastical universities, among other portfolios, prayed God’s blessings on the association and the new office bearers.
Jaijo Joseph, the new president introduced the new committee members. In his acceptance speech he said, "The post of a vice chairman is of top rank and is equivalent to a minister of state of the central government." He made a mention of prominent members present.
Jaijo, an active social worker, owner of an advertising agency for the past 20 years besides being involved in educational and cultural activities, said, "BMCA is more vibrant and has achieved more results during the last 61 years. BMCA got the best chief guest for the day. The new president also urged all present to give in writing to the vice chairman the problems the minority members face in any part of the country, instead of passing to Facebook and Whatsapp. The post the vice chairman holds is of the highest ‘political appointee’."
Fr Jomon Kolencherry CMI, chancellor, Diocese of Mandya, said he saluted BMCA for paving the way for new generation in phase of 61 years. He appreciated the great good works done by the association. Fr Jomon also secretary for the Commission for Education, Diocese of Mandya, said he was edified at the aim of the association, its uniqueness and unity. The goal to achieve the target is what makes all come together and 'let us come together'.
An MBA, MPhil holder and pursuing PhD in Christ University, Fr Jomon said he breathed a relief when George Kurien turned a savior, saying, "'Jesus is with us'. He has come as a great helper to address our problems."
Fr Joel Mathew OIC, parish priest, St Joseph’s Malankara Church, Mathikere, spoke high of the charitable activities of BMCA. "We have heard eye for an eye and pay wickedness with wickedness but Jesus said we can never overcome bad with bad but win bad with good," he said and was puzzled about how plucking someone's eye out for doing the same or kill for murder helps. He invoked God’s blessings and offered prayers and wishes for the greater growth of the organization.
The vice president of BMCA, Wills Warunny, introduced the chief guest and presented a brief profile of the vice chairman, George Kurien. Others who felicitated the newly elected included Thomas Chandy, Patron,Tony Vincent, Patron, Lieutenant Colonel Rappai A K and P V Kurien. The guests present also included non-Christians and non-Malayalees. P V Dominic,
The guests present also included non-Christians and non-Malayalees. P V Dominic, secretary, proposed the vote of thanks. Jolly Joseph compered the programme. Talented singers sang songs in various languages to entertain the guests and members during the fellowship meal.
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