09/27/2021, 16.19
INDIA
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Pahunch (outreach) to those looking for a future in India’s big cities on World Day of Migrants and Refugees

by Nirmala Carvalho

A webinar discussed ways to guarantee the essential rights to tribal people who lost their land, forcing them into outskirts of big cities. “Migrants in India they are like sheep without a shepherd,” said Redemptorist Fr Ivel Mendanha. The “Lord asks us to stand by” them.

 

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The Catholic Church in India celebrated the World Day of Migrants and Refugees yesterday, inspired by the theme Towards an ever wider ‘we’, proposed by Pope Francis in his message.

One of the most significant initiatives was a webinar organised by Redemptorists’ Pahunch (outreach) programme to raise awareness about the fate of migrants and mobilise in their favour in the Majella Vice Province, which includes Maharashtra, Goa, Mangalore, Udupi, Karwar and Belgaum.

The goal is to proclaim the Gospel and provide pastoral and material assistance to internal migrants who move to large cities like Mumbai, Vasai and Goa in search of a better future.

The webinar centred on large-scale migration saw presentations by Bipin Jojo, from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai); Gayatri Singh, a Senior Advocate at the Bombay High Court (Mumbai); and activists and experts Arvind Oraon and Praveen Kachhap.

“We talked about the issue of land seizure at the expense of tribal populations, which fuels migration,” said Vice Provincial Fr Ivel Mendanha. Other topics included “the difficulties in accessing public assistance programmes.”

“We underlined in particular the importance of helping migrants obtain identity papers and register on the government portal to get subsidies cards”.

“Along with that, it is also essential to keep track of their movements from one state to another, to uphold the protections guaranteed by law and avoid situations of mistreatment and exploitation.”

For Fr Mendanha, “Migrants in India they are like sheep without a shepherd. They are the most vulnerable people – moving around trying to survive but are often treated like nobody's children.

“In a world that hurts, they are the people the Lord asks us to stand by. This is what we Redemptorists and the laity who work with us try to do, through Pahunch, in the suburbs of Mumbai and Vasai.”

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