ASIA/INDIA - A Catholic Dalit is Deputy Prime Minister of the new state of Telangana

Friday, 20 June 2014

Secunderabad (Agenzia Fides) – The Catholic doctor Thatikonda Rajaiah is the Deputy Prime Minister of the new Indian state of Telangana, newly established by the government of the Indian Union. As reported to Fides, the Bishops of the Episcopal Council of Andhra Pradesh sent him a telegram of congratulations, assuring him of support through prayer. T. Rajaiah comes from a Dalit Catholic community and is also the Minister of Health and Education. He was educated in the Catholic Mission of Telangana by the PIME fathers. Rajaiah has paid great attention to social problems, the marginalized, religious minorities in his political commitment.
The Council of Bishops has sent a Memorandum to the government of the new state. The document, sent to Fides, stresses that "the Church in Telangana, although a minority, contributes to 25% of social services in education, health and social services, particularly for the poorest and the weakest". The Memorandum asks to cancel discrimination that the Dalit Christians suffer (according to the Presidential Order of 1950); to continue to subsidize the educational institutions run by the Church; to remove the ban on "spreading one’s religion, guaranteeing freedom of religion", and to prevent any possible intercommunal violence. The Bishops also invite the executive of the new state to financially support the efforts that the Church carries out in providing infrastructure for the sick, street children, the homeless, the unemployed, the disabled, drug addicts, as well as giving attention to the prison pastoral, to the rights of children and women's empowerment. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 20/06/2014)