KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – Over 200 heads ofChristianSchoolsin Paschimbanga gathered to seek redressal of long-standing grievances with regard to the denial of Educational Rights of the Minorities guaranteed under Art. 30 of the Constitution of India and upheld by various land mark judgments of the Supreme Court.
Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Kolkata chaired the meeting held at Don Bosco School Park Circus, 10th September under the banner of West Bengal Association of Christian Schools (Estd 1974). Others seated at the podium included, Church of North India Bishop Brajan Malakar of Barrackpore, Rajya Sabha Member Mr. Derek O’Brien, Member of Pashimbanga Legislative Assembly Mr. Shane Michael Calvert, and Vice President of the Paschimbanga Minority Commission Prof. Maria Fernandes, Padmashri Sr. Cyril IBVM, and Principal Secretary for Education Mr. Vikram Sen.
A member of WBCAS Fr K.T. Thomas tabled some of the major grievances before the assembly:
1) Harassment and delay in granting prior permission, panel approval and approval of the appointment of staff;
2) Denial of rights as minorities, to appoint suitable candidates of our choice in our educational institutions following Recruitment Procedures and Service Rules;
3) Enforcing the State Reservation Rules on Christian Minority Educational Institutions, which are not followed by other minority institutions.
4) Denial of the benefits of the “Special Rules” granted by G.O. No.641 – Edn (S)
5) Discrimination against the Primary Teachers of our aided Christian schools who, unlike their counterparts in all other schools, invariably receive their salaries only after long delay of weeks and even months;
6) Delay in payment of Government D.A. to our D.A. getting schools;
7) Delay and harassment in granting Minority Status Certificates;
8) Delay and harassment in granting N.O.C. to our schools;
9) Discrimination in granting government recognition / aid to our schools;
10) Undue interference with our right to set up a reasonable fee structure.
The government representatives unanimously expressed their willingness to sort out the grievances suffered under the previous governments. Mr. O’Brien who arrived from Delhito the meeting fixed up a meeting of WBACS delegation with Minister of School & Higher Education, Govt of Paschimbanga Mr. Bratya Basu for 15th September.
Mr. Sen assured the assembly that a new draft to speed up official procedure is under way.
While MLA and Vice-president of the Minority Commission pledged their full support to help redress the “torture and harassment” the Christian minority Educational Institutions suffered form the government departments.