Karnataka Government Sops for Christians. Crumbs says The CSF – Christians must not lower their guard

Mangalore RiotsMumbai, December 11, 2011: The Catholic-Christian Secular Forum (CSF) takes strong exception to ” what we see as purchasing the Christian community’s goodwill by throwing crumbs in the form of a paltry sum of a few crores. We demand justice and no favours from the government. Not only is the amount peanuts, but also its disbursement by BJP ‘Christians’, in the Christian Development Council, with no representative of even the mainline Christian denominations, makes its effectiveness highly suspect. If the government is serious of the welfare of Christians in Karnataka, it should first compensate those arrested in the 338 cases post the 2008 communal riots. The government must also act on the Justice Michael Saldanha Report, which exposes the role of and also names the then chief minister, home minister, senior police officials and the Hindutva forces, which the official report seeks to cover-up “, said Joseph Dias, The CSF general secretary. According to The CSF, If the government is sincere, the CDC members should be a mix of priests, pastors and Catholic laity, recommended by the Church hierarchy.

Dias was reacting to the recently constituted Christian Development Council (CDC) “reach-out exercise” of Rs.50 crores, which is to include aid to orphanages and old-age homes run by Christians across Karnataka. The CSF general secretary pointed out to the social services, especially in the fields of medicare, education and for the poor and downtrodden that the Church and Christian NGOs/institutions undertake in love and given freely, is priceless and a few crores will not make a difference. ” Rather, if there is true remorse of the government’s action of falsely accusing those in the 338 cases, it should publicly apologize for the harassment and compensate to rebuild their lost lives and human dignity. The CSF urges the community to support, honour and felicitate all those accused and thank them for standing in the gap, when most needed ” Joseph Dias added.

Franklin Monteiro, CDC member and vice-president of Karnataka State BJP Minority Morcha, told reporters recently that the CDC, at its first meeting on December 1 and chaired by chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda, had decided to initiate schemes for economically backward students from the community. “Special sops for sportspersons from the community to take part in state / national-level sports meets too are on the anvil,” he added. The CM had ordered the release of Rs 20 crore of the Rs 50 crore allocated for CDC activities. “The balance will soon be released. The CDC proposes that economically backward Christians will get Rs 1 lakh housing loan carrying low-interest rate of 5%. CDC has also sanctioned Rs 5 crore towards repairs and maintenance of 83 churches in 17 districts, including 11 in Dakshina Kannada. Plans are afoot to sanction Rs 1 crore to the snake bite unit that is functioning at Fr Muller Medical College Hospital. This is the only such facility in the district. The CDC will convene its next meeting after the winter session of the state assembly.

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