April 29, 2008

Margao turning into communal flashpoint; NCM told

Herald, 27 April 2008, p 3

PANJIM, ARPIL 26 – The commercial capital of Goa, Margao, is fast turning out to be a flashpoint of communal violence, stated members of the Christian Muslim Dialogue for Life (CMDL) in a submission before Member of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Dr Mehroo Bengalee.

Dr Bengalee is in Goa on Saturday to give a hearing to the minority communities. The CMDL stated that the minority community living in the Housing Board Colony and Monte Dongar is being frowned upon by hard core fanatics. The residents of these two localities are looked down upon as 'anti-national elements.

Incidence of intimidations against minority communities — the Christians and the Muslims — have grown in recent times and there's always an attempt to add communal colour to every small incident, submitted Ranjan Solomon, Convener of CMDL.

He submitted a CD to Dr Mehroo that allegedly contains offensive matter against minorities which was openly sold in the city, he stated.

He also complained that the Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, who represents Margao, is not interested in addressing issues concerning minorities — he is always busy.

He further said, "The fanatics need to be reined before they go out of control, lest there would be a repetition of Gujarat riots."

The delegation of All Goa Muslim Jamat (AGMJ) in their representation highlighted serious issue afflicting 8 per cent Muslim population in Goa.

They have no enough burial grounds because other communities have raised objections from time to time.

"We do not get permission from the government for building crematoriums due to public opposition, " complained Salim Kazi, General Secretary of the AGMJ.

The AGMJ also registered their opposition for constitution of Waft Board on the grounds that there are no Waft properties in the State of Goa.

A representation by Catholic Diocesan schools and colleges pointed out the problems they face, because they have to abide by Goa Education Act and the Goa Education Rules.

Members said, posts are lost when recruitments are made from the open category. Intake of faculty from outside Goa is not possible. Local candidate has to be recruited when the right candidates is not available within the fraternity at the time of recruitment.

Juino De Souza, the Convenor of Goan Catholic Welfare Union (GCWU) demanded that the State commission for minorities has to be set-up. He also expressed the need to check the influx of migrants, which he said, "may post a threat to the docile and peace loving Catholic community. "

He also demanded that Catholics should have job reservation in government.