M.P. Minority Commission plans to capture Christian Property*

Bhopal : Madhya Pradesh State Minority Commission in its monthly meeting held on 15th January 2009 recommended the state Government to establish a Board in the lines of Wakaf Board Act 1995 to control and use the property under the government control. The statement of the commissions reads , “The State Minority Commission has decided to ask the Government of Madhya Pradesh to enact a law in the model of Madhya Pradesh Wakhf Board Act 1995 to bring all the property owned by the Christian Minority either through gift or Government allotment be put under State Government for its control and use.”
Archbishop Dr. Leo Cornelio has very strongly condemned the move of the Commission. He in his first reaction said,” It looks that the State Minority Commission does not have any knowledge about the functioning of Christians organizations. All the property owned are under the government act of Firms and Societies. It holds regular meetings , audits accounts as per law, submits all documents to the Government and everything is in black and white. It is clear that the Minority Commission is working against the interest of the Christian Minority. Therefore the Commission has lost its moral authority to continue in Office.”
Mean while on 17th January , Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh held its meeting of members of the Political affairs in Bhopal. The meeting along with reviewing various issues took serious exceptions to the anti-minority activity of the minority commission. The Isai Mahasangh has adopted view of the Archbishop. It has decided to protest the decision of the commission all over the state. Its coordinator and Spokesperson for the Catholic Church, Fr. Anand Muttungal said, “ We ask the commission to withdraw its proposal with immediate effect or face protest and legal action. The commission has violated its own constitution.
The Madhya Pradesh State Minority Commission Act 1996 section 5 (B), clearly states “ The quorum of the meeting shall comprise the chairman with at lest one member.” In case of emergency and the chairman in his absence can appoint a member of the commission to chair the meeting but the constitution of the commission does not give any provision for the same. So it is very clear that the commission can not function without its Chairman, the commission has no provision to elect any of its members as temporary chairman for its working. Permanent Chairman is a must for the commission to hold its meeting.
On 23rd October 2008 the then Chairman Mr. Anwar Mohmad Khan completed his term as Chairman and then on it has ceased to be a collective body. No new chairman is appointed till date. So all the meetings and decisions taken from then holds no legal status. So it must be nullified.” Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasnagh has constituted a Sankarsh Samiti to organize protests all over the state.
President of the Sankarsh Samiti Dr. Chrsti Louis Abraham said, “ We will approach the Chief Minister and other Government officials to reject the proposals put forward by the ignorant commission members. We have come to know that the Christian nominee to the Commission Mr. Anand Bernard is behind all these. We have requested the Christian community to boycott him and do not entertain him in any Christian functions.” Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh Legal Cell President, Adv. James Anthony said that we are looking into the legal options. “If the Government goes along with the Minority Commission, we will approach the Court, it is also a blatant interference into the minority rights enshrined in the constitution of India.” He said that the constitution of the State Minority Commission Act 1996 (F) states that if the chairman or member works against the interest of the community or abuse the office can be removed from the office. So we are also studying the case seriously.
It is to be noted that in the Month of September 2008 around two hundred women and men belonging to the Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh reached in protest in the State Minority Commission Office and offered bangles to him for his apathy towards the community. His sluggish approach towards the Christian community has always been in the discussion.
*By Fr. Anand Muttungal, PRO & Spokesperson, Catholic Church, M.P

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