Cardinal sees similarities between India and Amazonia

The exploitation of indigenous people is also happening in India, says Cardinal Gracias
Cardinal sees similarities between India and Amazonia

Cardinal Oswald Gracias says legislation is taking away the rights of India's indigenous people. (ucanews photo)

Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay, a member of the council of cardinals, says that India has challenges similar to those facing the people of Amazonia.

Cardinal Gracias, president of the Conference of Catholic Bishops' of India, was appointed by Pope Francis to the Oct. 6-27 Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region. The theme of the synod is “Amazonia — new pathways for the Church and for an integral ecology.”

He told Vatican News that he is learning a lot about the challenges of the Amazon people, which are a little different from those in India but essentially the same, such as making the Gospel values present and reaching out to the poor.

The Indian cardinal said he was impressed by the passionate care of Amazonian bishops for their poor who are suffering violence, exploitation and injustice.

What came out strongly in the interventions, according to Cardinal Gracias, is the exploitation of the indigenous people. This is also happening in India, he said.

"The Adivasi and the tribals are our indigenous people. Their land is being taken away. Legislation is being passed that deprives them of the privileges they have," he told Vatican News.

Many of these original residents do not have proper documents as they have been living on their lands for centuries. "All of a sudden, someone comes telling them they don't have proper papers, so their land is being taken away," Cardinal Gracias said.

Deforestation is another problem in India. Companies are taking over the land and the green cover of the country is gradually diminishing, he said. The government has been speaking about the necessity for taking care of the climate but in reality the corporates have been doing otherwise, he said.

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