Joseph D’souza: Use RTI act to challenge conversion charges

July 19, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Mangalore, July 13, 2012: Around 50 leaders of various Christian denominations and secular forums that work for human rights and right to religion attended the meeting.

The Right to Information Act (RTI) is the best tool to challenge Hindu radicals’ allegation that Christians indulge in conversion activities.

“Through RTI it was found that only two bogus cases of forced and fraudulent conversions had been registered in Gujarat state in the past 25 years. There is need to use this Act to find out the number of forced conversions in Karnataka,” All India Christian Council (aicc) president Joseph D’Souza told a gathering in Mangalore.

Around 50 leaders of various Christian denominations and secular forums that work for human rights and right to religion attended the meeting.

D’Souza urged them to use RTI especially in states such as Karnataka where sectarian tension prevails.

Hindu fundamentalists have not emerged overnight, rather they have been planning continuously for the past 75 years, D’Souza pointed out. According to him, Gujarat, Karnataka and Orissa have become a major battleground for the Sangh Parivar, or the family of organizations of Hindu nationalists.

The Gujarat riots in 2002 became a globalized issue after the international media, court and other religious communities took it up. This led to the denial of visa to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi by the United States. “This international network has made Modi an equally worried man despite the fact that he is successful and powerful,” D’Souza noted.

After Christian groups such as aicc joined Muslims, dalit and local secular forums to highlight sectarian violence, Gujarat has had no record of attacks on the Christians in the past seven years, he claimed.

Suresh Bhat, a Brahmin and an official of Komu Sauhardha Vedike (forum for religious harmony), told the gathering that the Sangh Parivar’s long-drawn plan to make India a Hindu nation and make religious minorities “second and third class citizens is very dangerous to the secular country.”

Honey Cabral of Church of South India said Christians have cultivated the “theology of silence” which has to change if they want a safer tomorrow.

Mohammad Nisar of Association for Protection of Civil Rights said the ban on burqa by some Hindu and Christian colleges has hindered the education of Muslim women. “We need to have better understanding of each other’s religious practices and the meanings behind them,” he added.

There was a special welcome and honor was given to Dr. Joseph D’Souza by Rev Dr. Hony Cabral and Pastor Don Menezes on behalf of Karnataka. Dr. D’Souza said that the communal groups are planning to attack the minorities in a large scale in Karnataka. He warned and said before it’s too late come together to protect from the communal forces. In this regard he said that he is looking forward to meet Justice Michal Saldana the president aicc Karnataka to strengthen the effort.

To give the clear picture about Mangalore situation to the President just before his speech, different ones from different fields shared about ground realties with their personal experiences.

The meeting was led by Bro. Walter J. Maben of chairman KMN Mangalore and concluded with prayer and benediction by Rev. Kumar Swamy General Secretary, aicc Karnataka.

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