Three senior political leaders in the state – Minister for Water Resources Filipe Nery Rodrigues, senior Congress leader Digambar Kamat and Aldona MLA Glenn Ticlo – on Tuesday echoed the sentiments and concerns expressed by Archbishop of Goa and Daman Filipe Neri Ferrao whose statement seeking repeal of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act has triggered strong reactions from commissioner for NRI affairs and former BJP MP Narendra Sawaikar.
Speaking on the sidelines of a function held in Margao, Rodrigues maintained that the sentiments of the Catholic community vis-à-vis the CAA cannot be ignored, and that the same have been conveyed to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
Observing that religious issues cannot be completely ignored, Rodrigues said, “We have to be cautious… the sentiments of the people on the CAA and the NRC have already been conveyed to the Chief Minister. Today I am a minister, but I am also a member of the Church till my death.”
Expressing his concerns over the implications of the CAA implementation, he said that they have conveyed the message to Sawant that they belong to the Church.
Kamat said that every individual or a representative of any institution has a democratic right to express his/her opinion in a democratic way.
Miffed by the statement of the archbishop on the CAA, the
of Citizens and the National Population Register, Sawaikar had asked the religious head not to claim benefits at taxpayers’ money by enjoying the minority status given to educational institutions under Article 30 of the Constitution of India.
“Article 30 is enshrined in the Constitution. It has not been amended. It has been even tested in the Supreme Court from time to time, and the top court has upheld it,” Kamat observed.
Ticlo also rallied behind the archbishop and said, “The archbishop’s opinion has to be respected. We are in a democratic county where citizens have a right to voice their opinions. The archbishop has expressed his opinion and made suggestions to the government… Now, it is up to the government whether to accept his views or not.”
Interacting with media persons at Mapusa, Ticlo said that we should not unnecessarily try to target the archbishop because “finally he is the head of the religious institution”.
“Otherwise tomorrow people could ask as to why the archbishop has been silent… I feel that he (the archbishop) has only expressed his views… we are in a democracy and we have a right,” he emphasised.
The BJP leader said that it is within the Constitution to express one’s views. There is nothing wrong in the archbishop expressing his views, and that the prelate has not condemned the government.
Turning to CAA – the bone of contention – the Aldona MLA said, “I am of the opinion that the CAA was passed through a democratic process: it was passed in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha and assented by the President of India…”