Church hits back at Minority Commission

| 01 June 2000 09:35 IST

The Church in Goa has hit back at the National Commission for Minorities, describing it as "handmaid of the government rather than an organisation to protect the minorities".

It is in response to a report submitted by NCM member John Joseph, reportedly to the PMO, alleging that the Church in Goa is creating communal tension and causing political destabilisation by raising environmental issues regarding the controversial Meta Strips project.

A press note released by Diocesan Centre for Social Communications Media in this regard however also states : " it appears that this is not an official report of the NCM", alleging that Joseph has acted as an agent of Meta Strips and had even stayed and travelled in Goa during his visit at the cost of the company in March.

At the same time, the Church does not lag behind in attacking the NCM, stating that it has been recently under a cloud after "giving clean chit to the Sangh Parivar, whose members are killing, attacking and destroying property of Christians in India with covert support from those in power."

"Unfortunately, the NCM has been viewing the incidents with special glasses and has come to a conclusion that all these unconnected acts or accidents of petty criminals", states Fr Carmo Martins, the Church spokesman here, while trying to prove a link between attacks on Christians and Joseph's report.

According to Fr Martins, the report is not surprising because Joseph belongs to the Pentecostal Church in India with a small number of followers but lots of aid from Dr Sitaram Jindal, the CMD of House of Jindals, who is also promoting the Meta Strips project worth Rs 300 crore here in South Goa.

"A letter sent by Rev K T Thomas, president of Indian Pentecostal Church of Goa, to the Archbishop of Goa, he informs about the charitable work being undertaken by Dr Jindal. According to Rev Thomas, Dr Jindal…has been magnanimously donating and helping them on all related social works", states Fr Martins.

While painting a picture that Dr Jindal is a gentleman donating most of his profits for charitable purposes including Christian organisations, the Church alleges that the MSL has actually launched a major offensive in order to obtain public approval for their hazardous industrial project here.

It is a fact that the Church in Goa, including the local priests and nuns in the Christian-dominated coastal villages, have been playing an active role in the year-long agitation against the copper processing plant, owned by Sushil Khaitan, Dr Jindal's son-in-law.

Referring to the letters issued by several organisations in this regard through media or otherwise, Fr Martins suspects Dr Jindal's hand behind it to create an impression that Christians in Goa are objecting to the industry because Dr Jindal is not a Christian.

"Threats were also issued that Dr Jindal was capable of taking this issue countrywide through various forums, anti-Christian organisations and even through governments / Parliament as the last resort only", the Church in Goa alleges, adding further that approaching the NCM was the culmination of all these efforts. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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