Leaders at the meeting
Development devoid of peace and justice has no meaning, Indian Christian leaders agreed at a meeting in Delhi on June 11.
The federal government must ensure peace with justice, they said at a national consultation of Christian leaders on the 12th Five-year Plan, Communal Violence Bill and Caste-Religion-BPL (below poverty line) Survey.
Development is not possible unless government conducts a comprehensive survey of the social, economic and development condition of Christians in India, said John Dayal, a member of the national integration council.
He said Christians have made matchless contributions in the education and health care sector, yet they are discriminated against and not given their due share.
Dayal, who is also a member of the All India Christian Council (AICC), said most of the minority schemes are for Muslims.
He said Christians must be given freedom to practise, profess and propagate faith as provided under Articles 25-30 of the constitution.
The AICC member said this was imperative as many states are misusing provisions of the Right to Education Act to harass Church-run institutions.
Christians need land for graveyards and holy spaces. Besides there is no caste-origin for Christians.
“Over the last 60 years we have appealed that Christian dalits also be given scheduled caste status. It is clear discrimination based on religion,” Vincent Concessao, Archbishop of Delhi said.
“Change of faith is no reason to deny benefits, agreed National Commission for Minorities chairman Wajahat Habibullah.
Franco Mulakkal, Auxiliary Bishop of Delhi, demanded the setting up of a national Christian cultural center to coordinate the work of the community and strengthen its values.
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