NCCI General Secretary Roger Gaikwad
In his latest letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the NCCI General Secretary Roger Gaikwad tried to attract his attention to this fact. He wrote: “The crux of the matter is not any anti-government campaign of religious minorities; the crux of the matter is the worsening situation of violation of human rights in the country”.
The NCCI official has given examples to substantiate his claim quoting extensively and exclusively from leading newspapers and web media pertaining to caste-based discrimination and violence such as alleged attacks on Dalit persons; injustice to tribals and adivasis; development at the cost of environment and ecology; crimes against women; and threat to freedom of religion which is a ‘constitutional and human right.
The NCCI letter, coming close to Delhi Archbishop Anil Cuoto’s appeal to the ‘faithful’ to pray and fast to elect a new government that would respect the pluralistic culture and polity of the country, voices the similar concerns. The letter quoted from the report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) that has criticised India’s track record on religious freedom, placing it in tier two along with a dozen odd countries.
It said that the USCIRF Report of 2018 has shown how the religious freedom in India is showing a downward trend in last two years with right wing nationalist groups making attempts to ‘saffronise’ the country “through violence, intimidation and harassment of non-Hindus and Hindu-Dalits”.
Roger Gaikwad quoted the USCIRF report as saying “At the federal level, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made statements decrying mob violence, but members of his own political party have affiliations with Hindu extremist groups and many have used discriminatory language about religious minorities.”
The NCCI General Secretary Roger Gaikwad explained that the intention of his letter was to avoid any interpretation of such instances of violation of human rights that would further polarise the country on religious grounds. And to avoid this, people should make a spiritual resolve to make India the land of justice and peace preserving and enhancing its distinctive human and eco-diversities.
Nobody will disagree with the NCCI General Secretary on the issues he has raised in his latest letter of May 23, 2018. Similar concerns were voiced by the Catholic Archbishop Anil Cuoto of Delhi and Leo Cornelio of Bhopal over violence and ‘Jai Hind’. The problem with these Christian leaders and clergy is that there is a government at the Centre and in many states that is taking the country to great heights of progress and development acting on the principle of ‘Sab ka Saath Sab ka Vikaas’. No extra or special favours to any particular religious or minority groups and no special treatment to the majority either.
There is no such alarming situation on the front of human rights violation and the Chairman of National Minority Commission has himself said that asking the Delhi Archbishop not to vitiate the harmonious atmosphere in the country through such letters. It seems that the NCCI General Secretary might not have seen this letter of the NCM Chairman. Better he should read it to get the message loud and clear.
Are such aggressive postures adopted by the Catholic and Protestant Christian organisations just before the impending general elections of 2019 part of a larger conspiracy to defeat ‘nationalist groups and parties’?
This angle cannot be entirely ruled out.