//Indian Church:

Indian Church:

by Nirmala Carvalho, Asia News.IT, 3 November, 2006

The Sachar Committee has completed its report on the Muslim minority, which will be presented in mid-November. While backing Muslim demands, Catholics have called on the government to deal with all social and religious minorities in the same way.

Delhi (AsiaNews) – The Indian Church “supports the decision to safeguard the rights of the country’s Muslim minority” but believes it is “just as important to take the legitimate demands of all sectors of society, especially of other religious minority communities into serious consideration”.

This was the feedback given to AsiaNews by Fr Babu Joseph, director of the Communications Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, about the “Report on the situation of Indian Muslims”.

The report, prepared by the government committee led by Justice Rajendra Sachar appointed by the Prime Minister of the Indian Union, describes the social, economic and educational status of Indian Muslims in 12 chapters and proposes juridical solutions to eliminate discriminations they are submitted to.

In particular, the panel said “Muslims do not see Islamic schools as the future of their education. They propose the setting up of more English and Urdu-medium government schools as the only path towards true social integration”.

The report, which is due out in mid-November, will also recommend “more representation for Muslims in sectors like healthcare and teaching, and sensitization of all government employees towards the requirements of the Muslim community.”

Fr Jospeh said “this was all good” but added that “the presentation of such a report calls for a more comprehensive study of the socio-economic situation of all minorities and the drawing up of a strategic and sustainable development package for them.”

John Dayal, president of the All India Catholic Union and a famous human rights activist, shares the same view. He told AsiaNews: “The work of the committee should be praised for the way in which it was done. The data, presented by eminent Indian scholars, does not leave room for contentions by nationalists.”

However, continued Dayal, “the work of Sachar Committee, so carefully and swiftly done, deals a moral blow to that of the Mishra Commission, entrusted with the task of evaluating the situation of outcaste Christians.”

The latter commission, in fact, has consistently postponed parts of its work, making presentation of the complete report impossible. “In the meantime,” added Dayal, “the situation of Christian Dalits and tribals gets worse and worse”.