Panaji, Feb 10 (IANS) Two days after Goa Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao urged the central government to revoke the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), calling the law “divisive” and “discriminatory”, state BJP general secretary Narendra Sawaikar on Monday urged him to stop claiming benefits under Article 30 of the Indian Constitution, which protects minority educational institutions from government discrimination.
The Congress has called Sawaikar’s condemnation of the Archbishop’s views as “autocratic”.
Earlier in a tweet, Sawaikar, a former Lok Sabha MP on Monday said: “If #CAA is discriminatory than Article 30 of Constitution of India is more discriminatory. Don’t claim benefits at taxpayers money by claiming minority status! #CAA #Archbishop”.
“If #CAA is discriminatory for Goa #Archbishop, than Article 30 of Constitution of India is more discriminatory. Don’t claim benefits at taxpayers money by claiming minority status! #CAA @Pontifex,” the Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary also tweeted.
The Church in Goa, through the Diocesan Education Society, runs a majority of the English medium schools in the coastal state, which draw aid in form of financial grants from the Goa government.
As per Article 30 (ii) of the Constitution of India “the state shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language”.
On Saturday, the Archbishop, regarded as the religious and spiritual leader of Catholics in Goa, who account for nearly one third of the state’s 1.5 million population, had demanded revocation of the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“The Archbishop and the Catholic community of Goa would like to appeal to the government to listen to the voice of millions in India, to stop quashing the right to dissent and, above all, to immediately and unconditionally revoke the CAA and desist from implementing the NRC and the NPR,” the statement issued by the Goa Church’s Diocesan Centre for Social Communications Media had said.
Reacting to the BJP leader’s charge, Congress spokesperson Trajano D’Mello said that if Sawaikar is not in a position to hear “sane and sincere” appeals like those made by the Archbishop, he should wear “earplugs”.
“Narendra Sawaikar has exposed his autocratic DNA by condemning Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao for expressing his views and appealing that better sense prevail on CAA, NPR and NRC and that Peace may be maintained from the all burning situation that the country is facing,” D’Mello said.
“Sawaikar has further exposed his ignorance of the secular fabric of our Constitution framed by our founding fathers, by questioning as to why the Archbishop does not criticize Article 30 of the Constitution,” the Congress spokesperson also said, adding that Article 30 is embedded in the Constitution as a safeguard for the minorities to run their institutions in a highly disciplined and dignified manner.