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Anglo-Indian team to protect rights

Anglo-Indians, however, are not too hopeful that the Centre will pay heed to a small section of minority
The meeting by the All-India Anglo-Indian Association had been attended by around 70 school heads

Jhinuk Mazumdar   |   Calcutta   |   Published 10.01.20, 08:21 PM

The Anglo-Indian community has decided to set up a team of representatives of educational institutions and professionals with legal acumen to “safeguard the autonomy and minority rights” of their institutions.

A letter was sent to the principals of Anglo-Indian schools, other Anglo-Indians and well-wishers on Friday by the All-India Anglo-Indian Association, which had organised a meeting earlier this week to discuss the way forward following the revocation of the reservation for the community in Parliament and state legislature.

The meeting had been attended by around 70 school heads.

All present had unanimously agreed to “set up a team of representatives of educational institutions and professionals with legal acumen to safeguard the autonomy and minority rights of our institutions”, said the letter signed by Rudolf Woodman, the honorary general secretary of the association.

“The members also decided to set up a Constitutional Advisory Team to look into all the matters related to our rights and the assurances laid down in the Constitution of India,” the letter added.

Those present at the meeting had also agreed “to set up an overall coordination team on other matters concerning the community, particularly those related to social welfare, senior citizens and our youth”.

The members of the Anglo-Indian community who attended the meeting had decided “to seek an appointment with and send a delegation to meet the President, Prime Minister and home minister of India and appeal to them to reconsider this amendment to the Constitution that has left the community shattered”.

Some Anglo-Indians, however, are not too hopeful that the Centre would pay heed to what a small section of the minorities was asking for.

“Nine of the country’s largest and most active organisations of the Anglo-Indian community passed a resolution expressing that they were deeply distressed and anguished at the Government of India’s decision to end our representation in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies. The resolution also strongly rejected as baseless the statement put forward by the Government in Parliament that the number of Anglo-Indians in India today is 296,” the letter said.

It had also been decided at the meeting to come up with a concrete plan to find out an accurate count of Anglo-Indians in the country. The community’s own estimate is 4 lakh.

“We have to do what we have to. The silver lining is the whole community is united as one without exception. It has come together as a community like never before and as much we are trying to get the representation back, we will also stick together and work together in all future endeavours,” said Barry O’Brien, the president-in-chief of the All India Anglo-Indian Association and convener of the meeting. “We have appealed to (everyone) to light a candle every Friday … it is a symbol of keeping the prayer going.”

“We shall keep you informed and updated. Until then, be united, be concerned, but stay calm… and don’t forget to light that candle every Friday. Today is Friday!” the letter said.

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