PRESS RELEASE ON THE JHARKHAND CHIEF MINISTER’S STATEMENTS AGAINST CHRISTIANS

  24 October,2016

 
 
 
 
 
Prot.1286/GenSec2016 (3-b-10/CBCI-GC)                             23rdOctober, 2016                               
 
PRESS RELEASE ON THE JHARKHAND CHIEF MINISTER’S STATEMENTS AGAINST CHRISTIANS
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India is saddened by the unconstitutional and divisive statements being made by the Chief Minister of Jharkhand Mr. Raghubar Das against Christian Tribals and Christian leaders. The Catholic Church along with tribal leaders from all sections including the Sarnas will continue to protect the legitimate rights of the tribals. The just aspirations of the tribals are being threatened by amendments to the Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act (CNTA) and the SanthalPargana Tenancy Act (SPTA) as well as the provisions of the CAMPA Bill 2016.We request the Chief Minister to protect the rights of the tribals and we strongly deplore and condemn the comments made by Mr. Raghubar Das against Christians. We thank all Tribal leaders and Political Parties who have supported us against the venom being spewed by the Chief Minister even during his official functionsagainst our peace loving community. The language used by the Chief Minister in his statements does not suit his position as an elected Chief of government.  
The Chief Minister’s attempts to divide the tribal populations on the basis of Religion are appalling and should be withdrawn immediately. We request the Prime Minister who has given us the Slogan of “SabhKaSath, Sab KaVikas” to call the Chief Minister from his party to attention. 
We remind the Chief Minister that in Jharkhand according to Government figures 35 lakhs families are below poverty line out of the total number of about 69 lakhs households and that Jharkhand falls short of the national average in almost all the development indicators.The Chief Minister should refrain from using divisive tactics and interfering in the legitimate rights given to us under the Constitution and devote himself to serious issues like malnutrition, illiteracy, unemployment.
 
The Catholic Church reiterates its commitment to nation building, to the empowerment of the tribals and dalits and for the uplift of the poor. However, it will not accept any infringement onthe rights of the minorities and the constitutionally guaranteed  “freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion”.
 
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas SFX
Secretary General
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India