Ahead of the Maharashtra civic polls, Catholic organisations in the city are seeking more representation from political parties so that their specific issues are addressed.
Members of the Bombay Catholic Sabha (BCS) and two other organisations met state Congress president Ashok Chavanon Jan 17 to seek more representation for the community in the polls to various local bodies across the state.
The BCS said it hadn’t extended support to any party. Instead, the organisation said, it was encouraging more candidates from the community to contest the polls on party tickets. “We are an apolitical organisation and have not extended support to any party. Surely, we will encourage more Christian candidates,” said Rita D’sa, president of BCS.
She said the community had been neglected for long. “We want our voice to be heard in the decision-making processes. So far, our community has been neglected. The docile nature of the community should not be perceived as weakness. We want good people from the community to be part of the system for good governance,” added D’sa.
Godfrey Pimenta, vice-president of the Bombay East Indian Association, pointed out that there were multiple issues facing the larger Catholic community, including that of church land being acquired by the BMC for development work, demolition of century-old crosses and not marking gaothans in the city’s Development Plan. “We had to fight for our issues, be it acquisition of land under the garb of development, demolition of heritage crosses or others. The East Indian community is the original sons of the soil. But our issues have been neglected due to lack of representation in the civic corridors. We want more representation, which will help in addressing our issues,” said Pimenta, also an activist.
On Jan 20, the Church In the City (CIC) will hold a preparatory event on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections in Dadar (West).
“During the event, we will be raising the issue of seeking more representation for the Christian community. Since all parties are coming for the event, we will ask everyone about this. We want more representation,” said Willie Shirsat, chief secretary of CIC, a unit of the Church.
As per the 2011 census, there is around 8 lakh Christian population in the city. The areas dominated by the community include IC Colony in Borivli, Vakola, Kalina, Bandra (West), Amboli in Andheri (West), Juhu, Versova, Malad and others.
At present, there are just four corporators from the Christian community in the 227-member BMC.
Source: Indian Express
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