Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Cardinal meets the Prime Minister

Cardinal Telesphore Toppo meets Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.
The 67-year-old cardinal asked the prime minister to set up a committee to study the socioeconomic profile of the Christian community in India in the light of a recent report which said that Christians were the most unemployed.

The cardinal also drew attention to the distress of farmers across the country, where grinding poverty has led to suicides.

Pointing out the ongoing atrocities directed at Christians in different states and the enactment of the so-called Freedom of Religion Bills banning conversions, Cardinal Toppo told Singh that such laws were against universal human rights and the freedom of conscience.

Cardinal Toppo also discussed issues of migration, equal rights and the need for an adoption law.
I'm surprised that the issue of reservations (ie a place in the complicated Constitutionally mandated quota system in employment for members of [until now only Hindu and Buddhist] lower castes) for Dalit Christians wasn't on the list. Whether this meeting does any good is a separate matter. Dr. Singh is a decent fellow, but he's rather limited in what he can do. The real power lies with the President of the Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi. And, frankly, concern for Christians is not really an issue for India's politicians, since they're not numericallystrong enough to be serious "vote banks" on the national stage and thus, are quite irrelevant to what is the real interest of politicians: to get re-elected and maintain the power, privilege, status, patronage and the ability to milk the state dry that comes with elected office.

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