01/19/2010, 00.00
INDIA
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Marxist Communist Party in India bans leaders from practicing faith

by Nirmala Carvalho
The directive contained in a recent internal document. K.S. Manoj, director of CPI-M and former lawmaker, resigned because he believes "deeply" in his religion. Comments about this outdated diktat, also contrary to the Constitution of India.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - "In a document of the Communist Party Indian-Marxist (CPI-M) to  grassroots committees, it is indicated that leaders should not attend religious services. This for me is difficult, because I believe deeply in my religion". K.S. Manoj thus explains why he recently left the CPI-M, to follow his faith.

With the PCMIA, K.S. Manoj, a Catholic, was elected to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of national parliament of India, in 2004 for the district of Alappuzha, where he defeated outgoing Congressman VM Sudheeran of the Congress Party (CP). Instead in the May 2009 elections he was beaten by the CP candidate KC Venugopal. He resigned from the CPI-M  positions on January 9 over the contrast between his religious faith and political beliefs. He sent his resignation via a simple fax to the local CPI-M committee of Thumboli and the district office of Alappuzha.

Manoj explains that "the December 3, 2009 CPI-M  document says on pages 82 to 94 that national MPs and local authorities and leaders of the Party can not participate in organized religions or religious functions. This means that as a Catholic I could not practice my faith. "

He says he believes his religious faith is more important than party ideology. He insists that even the Indian constitution recognizes the right of everyone to practice their religion, so that in the fax he asked "that the party reconsider its prohibition."

Father Paul Thelakat, spokesman for the Syro-Malabar Catholic Synod, in an exclusive interview with AsiaNews says that "Dr. Manoj has left the PCMIA because he found that his Catholic faith is not compatible with the party ideology. He said, among other things, that he does not want to be in a party where they consider him a second class citizen because of his faith. He hoped that the believers could work in the party with full freedom and dignity, to build a society of equals and without discrimination and exploitation. But he resigned when he saw that that was not to be” "These resignations - he continues - highlight the contradiction between the dialectical materialism of the CPI-M  and its attempt to involve the believers. There are many party members who go to church or mosque or temple, but now the CPI-M  says that its members can practice their religion but  leaders no, they must embrace materialism. This is a double standard that applies a kind of caste system within the party. The CPI-M  will have no future, if it does not leave aside this outdated ideology and open to spiritual and constitutional values".

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