Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Pro-poor bill blocked in parliament
Lawmakers move to keep caste discrimination alive
- Swati Deb, New Delhi
- December 21, 2012
A bill aimed at boosting the social status of dalits and tribal people has been blocked in the country’s parliament.
If passed into law, the Constitutional Amendment Bill would ensure India’s lowest castes would receive a guaranteed quota in government job promotions.
However, MPs from the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Samajwadi (Socialist Party) prevented the bill’s passage by opposing it in the lower house.
The move highlighted how the country is struggling to rid itself of the discriminatory caste system despite it being outlawed.
"Caste is the ultimate reality in Indian society. Despite official provisions, things have not changed much since country's independence in 1947,” Sharad Yadav, president of the Janata Dal United (United People's Party), told ucannews.com.
The bill had earlier been backed by BJP members in the upper house.
However, several BJP lawmakers in the lower chamber who depend on support from higher caste voters reportedly cautioned the leadership not to commit political hara-kiri by backing a bill that supports lower castes.
The BJP leadership chose to stall the bill on constitutional grounds by demanding it be reviewed by the Supreme Court.
The quota issue has always been a contentious issue in Indian politics and has led to street clashes.
Some 1.8 million government employees, mostly upper caste, in Uttar Pradesh have recently been protesting the bill with street demonstrations. After the bill was blocked yesterday, they called off the strike.