» 10/21/2013 INDIA Card. Gracias meets Sonia Gandhi : Let's work together to protect all Indians by Nirmala Carvalho The Archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Bishops' Conference (CBCI ) , tells AsiaNews : "A meeting not to ask for special favors , but to discuss social justice for all ." Gandhi : "I appreciate the services rendered by the Catholic community to society."
(AsiaNews) - Religious freedom for all minorities, equal rights for Dalit
Christians and Muslims, the controversial Food Security Bill : these are some
of the themes that Card. Oswald
Gracias , archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Bishops' Conference of
India (CBCI ) , discussed in person with Sonia Gandhi , President of the United
Progressive Alliance ( UPA ) , the ruling coalition in India. Speaking
to AsiaNews, the prelate explained
that the meeting which took place on 16 October, "was an opportunity not
to ask for special favors, but only justice, equality and protection for all
citizens, as guaranteed by the Constitution of our country."
cardinal congratulated the President of UPA for the approval of the Food Security Bill, defining the decree - which provides for
the distribution of low-cost food for 800 million poor people - as "a giant
step towards the government's care for the needy and the
oppressed". Gandhi assured the Archbishop that "the concerns raised will
be seriously addressed" and said they appreciated "the services
rendered by the Catholic community in many fields, particularly education and
cardinal told AsiaNews that he would like to "meet all parties in the
country," demonstrating that "the Church does not seek privileges ,
but only wants to exercise our rights under the Constitution. India is the
largest secular democracy in the world, the
Constitution guarantees basic human rights to all peoples. As Christians we are
an integral part of Indian society. "
the country the Christian community represents 2.3 % of the population. However,
stresses the CBCI President, "for hundreds of years the Church has
tirelessly dedicated itself to building this nation. It has made a great
contribution to the general welfare of society, without ever discriminating against
caste or creed, and has
never intervened in matters not concerning us.
Our only request is to be able to work and live freely, according to the
rights enshrined in the Constitution. And these include the right to practice
our religion. "