NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has started a massive outreach program to convince Christians in India that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is a good move that should be appreciated by the community.
While protests were raging across the country against the amended citizenship law, the minorities panel has traveled to seven states and a Union Territory and met around 100 church leaders over the past two months, this newspaper has learned.
Sources say the panel has faced “tough” questions from priests and church leaders, many of whom have already issued statements against the CAA. From ‘equating’ CAA with US President Donald Trump’s travel ban on people of certain countries (mostly Muslim) entering the US to ‘reminding’ Christians that India is yet to ratify the 1951 Refugee Convention, the NCM representative cited several conventions to the priests.
Lawyer George Kurian, a Christian member and Vice President of NCM, who has met church leaders in Maharashtra, Odisha, Kerala, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi to bring the community on board on the CAA issue, is likely to visit other states as well.
When asked about the same, Kurian confirmed he has been meeting Christians of different denominations to discuss the CAA but refused to share the details.
“Inclusion of Christians in CAA is a good move. The CAA needs to be appreciated. There is a lot of misinformation going around, which has to be countered. The CAA does not snatch away the citizenship of any Indian,” the senior lawyer said.
To understand the discussions, The Morning Standard spoke to several church leaders of different denominations who met Kurian. Many of them said they asked Kurian about the CAA-NRC link, which has been termed as “lethal” for Muslims by critics.
A Jesuit priest from the southern state of Kerala, also the home state of Kurian, said the CAA is against the secular ethos of the Constitution and they “won’t get swayed” by “meaning-less dialogues”.