ASIA/INDIA - Green light to the "Commission for Minorities" in the state of Kerala
Cochin (Agenzia Fides) – The creation of a specific "Commission for Minorities" in the Indian state of Kerala, in South India is imminent. Kerala is the Indian state with the highest percentage of Christians (over 16%) and with a level of education among the highest in India. As local sources of Fides report, already several months ago the state government, led by then Chief Minister V.S. Achutandan, of the Communist Party, had initiated the project of a "Commission for Minorities", which today had its final go-ahead, from the current government led by Oomman Chandy of the Congress Party. This type of Commission, which has the task to monitor the situation and protect the rights of ethnic, religious minorities, already exists in 16 states of India. Its creation in every single state was formally advocated by the "Federal Commission for Minorities", already activated in the central state. In Kerala, the Commission has been actively supported in particular by Muslim minorities, but has also found the support of Christians, Sikhs, Parsis and Buddhists.
Recently, observers and Muslim groups have reported violence and a "campaign of intolerance" towards them by Hindu extremist groups in Kerala. Asked by Fides Agency, the Catholic intellectual Ignatius Gonsalves, Director of the weekly "Jeevanaadam" ("The Voice of Life"), published by the Catholic Church in Kerala denies this reading: "Some fundamentalist Muslim groups raise these alarms, as opposed to the moderate Muslims. In the past, Kerala was the only state in India which remained admirably calm even when in other Indian states there were violent clashes between Muslims and Hindus. The credit for this goes largely to the Muslim League, moderate party.
Even the Hindus in Kerala are generally open-minded and are not sectarian. The Hindu fundamentalist party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which governs in other Indian states, does not even have a single member in the Kerala Legislative Assembly: this is sufficent proof of the mentality of the population. It must be said however that more and more Islamic militancy is making its way in the territory, fueled by the Gulf countries. And sometimes the Hindus feel threatened." In Kerala out of a population of over 33 million people, Hindus are 63%, Muslims 20%, Christians 16%, and the believers of other religions, 1%. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 24/11/2012)
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