The Christian community across the country is much divided over CAA, NRC and NPR. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act seeks to provide Indian citizenship to the members of minority communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who have fled religious persecution. These communities include Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Parsis, all of whom are in minority, and whose numbers have fallen drastically in each of the three countries.
The common Christian people are happy over the fact that the Modi government is giving citizenship to persecuted minorities of the neighbouring Islamic nations. But some Christian priests, who see themselves as an embodiment of secularism, have criticized the amendment.
A few weeks ago, Archbishop of Bengaluru, Dr Peter Machado, wrote to President Kovind and PM Modi, against the CAA. Reacting to his letter, Social activist Robert Rosario, a member of the Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC) in Mumbai, wrote an email on Wednesday to the Archbishop of Bombay- Cardinal Oswald Gracias and asked him to take action against his Bengaluru counterpart.
The Christian cardinal has supported the amendment in the Citizenship act. In a press note, it said “religion should never be the criterion for citizenship of a country,” but there is no harm in “changing course if this is necessary for the good of the country and our people.”
On the other hand, AOCC has hailed the decision of Modi government as historic.
“Our fellow Christians in Pakistan and neighbouring countries were persecuted badly by the majority Muslim. At last, our Lord Jesus Christ heard our prayers and enlightened our parliament to pass this law,” said Melwyn Fernandes, secretary of AOCC.
In the neighbouring Islamist countries, minority persecution has become an almost accepted norm. News cycle is filled with stories of abduction, murder, rape of Hindus in the country. A similar incident happened last year in the Sindh province where a young Hindu girl, Ravita Meghwar was forcibly converted and married to a Muslim man.
Even the minority Christians are not spared. Not very long ago, the world witnessed the anti-minority hatred that runs through the veins of the mainstream Muslim majority Pakistan population. Recent attacks on the Christian community include an attack on a church in Quetta in December 2017 that killed nine people and injured 57. A suicide attack targeting Christians celebrating Easter at a Lahore playground in March 2016 left 70 dead and more than 340 wounded.
The common Christians of the country are happy with the Modi government’s citizenship amendment but many leaders of the Christian community have opposed the act in the name of secularism. The amendment has divided the minority community. The leaders, especially those with political stakes or aspirations, have opposed the act, or have kept the position ambiguous.
The division over the act, especially between the clergy class and common people of these communities, shows that the clergy class is always opposed to the interest of the common majority, especially if they have political stakes.