India’s main group of lay Catholics has urged Christians “to work with civil society and people of goodwill in all religions to stop assaults on the Constitution (and) demotion of institutions such as the Election Commission of India”.
The message came from the All India Catholic Union’s (AICU) annual general body meeting --- the last before next year’s general election and a slew of state elections this year. Christian-majority Mizoram is one of the states headed for the polls this year.
The Centre has proposed a law to water down a Supreme Court judgment that mandates a neutral collegium for the appointment of election commissioners.
In a statement, the group said: “In the backdrop of the continuing violence in Manipur, the planned atrocities against Christians, and the sort of physical and economic violence against Muslims in Nuh, Haryana, Fr Cedric (Prakash of Ahmedabad) said there was hope and encouragement to be taken from the recent Assembly elections in Karnataka. The strategic unity of the people of all faiths, even political ideologies, to challenge communalism had borne rich fruit.
“Bangalore Archbishop Dr Peter Machado, the ecclesiastical adviser to the AICU, also called for the empowerment of the laity in the country so it could play a role in democratic social and political processes more effectively, and guard the interests of the people.”
It added: “In key resolutions adopted during the AGM, AICU reaffirmed its unwavering solidarity with victims of various incidents, notably in Manipur, Nuh, and Christian communities across the country. This solidarity extends beyond words to concrete actions, including the provision of financial assistance, legal aid, and counselling services to support those affected by adversity.”
The AICU has demanded the restoration of central scholarships for minorities — such as the Maulana Azad National Fellowship — and the appointment of a Christian member to the National Commission for Minorities.