Bangalore (Agenzia Fides) - The Jesuits of South Asia support the cause of the poor and with this spirit have promoted and launched the "Lok Manch" ("People's Forum"), a platform of leaders of civil society organizations committed to protecting and promoting the rights of marginalized populations. This is what Fr. Irudaya Jyothi, a Jesuit and social assistant told Agenzia Fides, explaining the need born within the Society of Jesus in South Asia. Thanks to the network established with 92 organizations in 12 Indian states, the religious have reached about 300,000 needy families in urban and rural areas.
In a recent seminar organized at the Indian Social Institute (ISI) in Bangalore, titled "Together we make the difference", the associations of Lok Manch reiterated their alliance, citing the challenges that the most marginalized populations face in India. The associations and leaders present talked about the rights (at different levels) and have drawn a "road map" for the years to come.
The president of the Jesuit Conference of South Asia, Fr. George Pattery told Fides: "We collaborate with over one hundred NGOs in accompanying the most marginalized communities and in promoting their rights, as well as in training local leaders". Lok Manch has also worked for the implementation of the "National Food Security" Act. "Forum organizations operate alongside marginalized groups such as Dalits, tribals, Christian and Muslim religious minorities, women, poor urban people, migrants and precarious workers, often choosing particularly vulnerable groups such as the Dalits of the Pahadia and Paniya tribes who have enbraced Christianity, suffering further discrimination. Among the rights protected by Lok Manch, those on food security, and the right to education.
As the Jesuit Fr. Sannibhai, coordinator of the group "Jesuit in Social Action" and engaged in the Lok Manch, the next step is to give a contribution to the construction of a just, fair nation, respectful of everyone's rights. To this end, the Jesuits have drawn up a special document with specific questions to be submitted to various political parties and candidates, in view of the upcoming 2019 elections. (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 12/10/2018)