Monday, 30th October 2017

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Anglo-Indian call to stay united in ‘scary times’

They prayed for Mamata Banerjee as she 'bravely takes on the forces of destruction that plague our country today'

By Jhinuk Mazumdar in Calcutta
  • Published 7.01.20, 3:17 AM
  • Updated 7.01.20, 3:17 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Barry O’Brien speaks at the meeting on Monday. Picture by Sanat Kr Sinha

The days ahead “look scary” and there is a need to “stand together” — a meeting of school principals, professionals and leaders from the Anglo-Indian community from across the country began on a grim note on Monday.

The organisations present at the meeting chaired by Barry O’Brien, the president-in-chief of the All-India Anglo-Indian Association, the oldest and the largest registered organisation of the community, passed a resolution condemning the government’s decision to end Anglo-Indian representation in Parliament and state legislatures.

It was unanimously agreed to set up a coordination committee to chalk out future plans and the way forward.

“The days ahead look scary. What we saw on TV yesterday sent shivers up our spine. Students beaten up by unruly mobs on the campus. Where do we go from here?” asked Sister Marissa of the Marian Educational Centre at a prayer before the meeting at Frank Anthony Public School.

“Are our own educational institutes safe? Our minority rights safeguarded? Questions we need to ask ourselves very seriously. We need to stand together to fight any form of injustice to the poor and the helpless in this country. In this agonising hour we cry out to the Lord for help,” Sister Marissa said in the prayer. “You have promised to be our refuge in times of fear and difficulty. Be our rock of strength as we discern what we have to do today to restore peace and harmony in these troubled times.”

The gathering prayed for chief minister Mamata Banerjee as she “bravely takes on the forces of destruction that plague our country today”.

Trinamul MP Derek O’Brien attended the meeting.

A prayer was also said for the Prime Minister so that “they may be guided to see the mayhem, the atrocities and the countless problems faced by our countrymen….”

The members of the Anglo-Indian community at the meeting felt their contribution to the country was being undermined and the community needed to “present an integrated view that highlights the implication of the decision made by this government”.

“There is a sense of fear that we are being excluded as a community.... The rights of minorities are being taken away and we have to impress upon the government to really make it sabka saath sabka vikaas,” said Vinisha Nero, the Anglo-Indian MLA in Karnataka. “We are very much a part of this country and we will always be. If it is necessary for us to raise our voices to make sure that they hear us, we shall rise to the occasion and do that.”

PRAYER

Excerpts from the prayer by Sister Marissa at the meeting of Anglo-Indian leaders, principals and professionals from over 30 cities at Frank Anthony Public School on Monday evening

We pray very specially for our chief minister Ms Mamata Banerjee that you may send a special anointing of your spirit upon her as she bravely takes on the forces of destruction that plague our country today. Keep her safe at all times. Give her a supportive cabinet of ministers to guide her.

We pray also for our Prime Minister and his cabinet officials that they may be guided to see the mayhem, the atrocities and the countless problems faced by our countrymen, the farmers, the unemployed youth, the unproductive industries, the economic slowdown, the vagaries of nature due to climate change. Their hands are full with so many burning issues to sort out. Give them the strength of mind and heart to carry out their responsibilities to the nation who have given them the mandate to lead this great country.