Christian leaders condemn repression of youth protests

More than 200 Christian leaders from across India have condemned the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, and “brutal repression” of protests by youth and civil society against the legislation.
“We express our solidarity with the students and others who have been grievously injured and pray for their speedy recovery,” said the statement signed among others by Father George Pattery, head of the Jesuits in India, former theology professor T K John, human rights activist John Dayal, and Evangelical Fellowship of India general secretary Reverend VijayeshLal.
The statement noted several controversial legislations passed by the Parliament since the new government came to power in May. They have led to the collapse of the democratic institutions of India built “carefully and painstakingly” by “enlightened leaders” over the last seven decades, the Christian leaders bemoaned.
The new law, they say, is deeply divisive, discriminatory and violative of human rights. In particular, this legislation discriminates against Muslim communities in India, who constitute over 14 percent of the population of India, and therefore, it is totally unacceptable in a secular democratic republic of India.
“The letter and spirit the Constitution, framed by men and women who had participated in the freedom struggle, cannot be thrown out at the whims of a particular ideology. We are deeply saddened at the haste in which the President of India gave his assent,” the statement added.
The following is the text of the statement released to the Media on December 20.
Concerned Christian Citizens’ Statement on Citizen’s Amendment Act 2019
We, the citizens of India belonging to various Christian denominations, express our solidarity with the enlightened youth and people of India in their struggle to preserve the rich heritage of the values of the Constitution of India by peacefully expressing their dissent and protest against the recently enacted Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019.
We condemn the brutal repression by the police and paramilitary forces on peaceful democratic protests by youth and students of various cities and Universities in India, especially JamiaMilliaIslamia University and Aligarh Muslim University. Innocent lives have been lost, and many young persons injured. We express our solidarity with the students and others who have been grievously injured and pray for their speedy recovery.
We note that ever since the new Government was elected in May 2019, there have been several controversial legislations passed by the Parliament that lead to the collapse of the democratic institutions of India which have been carefully and painstakingly built by enlightened leaders over the last seven decades.
We are also concerned that the misplaced priorities of the Government are leading to a serious economic crisis causing a lot of suffering for the poor and marginalized sections of society.
The CAA 2019 mitigates against the very Preamble of the Constitution of India. The President, Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India, members of Parliament and the Council of Ministers are sworn to defend the Constitution. The new law is deeply divisive, discriminatory and violative of the human rights. In particular, this legislation discriminates against Muslim communities in India, who constitute over 14 per cent of the population of India, and therefore, it is totally unacceptable in a secular democratic republic of India.
We are appalled that a majority of members in both Houses of Parliament rushed through in voting the highly contentious CAA 2019 without paying sufficient attention to the concerns of the people of India. We are even more appalled that several political parties have had no qualms about passing a law that goes against the spirit of the Constitution of India and the good of the people who elected them just over 6 months ago.
The letter and spirit the Constitution, framed by men and women who had participated in the freedom struggle, cannot be thrown out at the whims of a particular ideology. We are deeply saddened at the haste in which the President of India gave his assent to the controversial piece of legislation.
The people at large have been denied an opportunity for citizens to convey him their serious concerns over the CAA 2019. At all stages, there patently has been a serious lack in application of mind to the ramifications of enacting such a law. A law can be just only when it preserves the common good. A law that discriminates against a particular section of people abdicates its moral legitimacy.
The CAA 2019 cannot be seen in isolation. It has to be seen in the light of the National Register of Citizenship (NRC), an attempt to target minority communities under the guise of identifying illegal immigrants. All these are aimed at polarising communities in the name of religion, excluding the minorities and making a majoritarian, theocratic hegemony.
The failed and futile exercise undertaken in Assam is being planned to be undertaken across the country at enormous cost. Rather than identifying illegal immigrants, the exercise has stripped genuine Indian citizens of their citizenship and torn families apart due to their inability to produce documents of ancestry or even due to spelling mistakes in their identity cards.
It is extremely shameful for a patriotic citizen of India that even a brave decorated former Indian soldier and Kargil war hero, Mr. Mohammad Sanaullah, has been declared an illegal immigrant by the flawed NRC process and incarcerated in detention camps.
We join the citizens of India, who are vehemently opposing, resisting and protesting against CAA 2019, NRC and the construction of detention camps. We humbly appeal to all political parties and members of Parliament to hear the cries of the citizens of India who have elected them and repeal the CAA 2019, scrap the pan India NRC and stop the construction of detention/concentration camps at the earliest.
(Taken from http://mattersindia.com/)

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