Letter from: Jayaraj Esukala,
General Secretary – SIDCA,
Hyderabad, Mobile : 87123 11112, 94941 40577
CC to CBCI SC/ST Commission,TCBC SC/ST Commission
Fr. Amal Raj SJ
Satyodayam, Tarnaka, Hyderabad.
Date : 20-10-2016
Dear Father, Greetings from SIDCA (South Indian Dalit Catholic Asssociation)
We the Dalit Catholics are grateful to Jesuit community for its continuous support for the Dalit Christian cause right from its inception. We are especially grateful for the services of Fr. AXJ Bosco SJ, who spearheaded the movement for the past 15 years.
He is a great guide and inspiring leader who motivated the under privileged to voice their concerns to the governments and Church authorities. He created awareness among the religious, bureaucrats and politicians. He has established his contacts with every political party and politicians and presented Dalit situation and their demand for equal rights and justice. He also associated and brought Dalits, Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians under one platform and lobbying with the government and members of the Parliament.
He had undergone many hardships and made numerous sacrifices to build up a Dalit Christian movement. At the risk of his health he travelled every nook and corner of the country and awakened the people to secure equal justice.
It is unfortunate that the Church head at Kadapa was kidnapped, assaulted and attempted to be murdered by some of the Reddy caste clergy. In this regard Telugu Catholic Bishops Council (TCBC) has maintained strategical silence, then Fr. Bosco raised courageously his voice in support of the Bishop, who is a Dalit.
He boldly stepped in penning down an “Open Letter” which was highly appreciated by all the sections of the people particularly Dalits and Dalit Christian communities. This action of Fr. Bosco troubled some of the upper caste Bishops, particularly Most Rev. Thumma Bala the Archbishop of Hyderabad, who is a Reddy.
Moreover to our utter surprise the Most Rev. Jaya Rao Polimera being a Dalit Bishop and the Chairman of SC/ST and BC commission of TCBC could not raise his voice. Prior to this, the same Chairman of SC/ST and BC Commission requested the Provincial of Jesuits to extend the services of Fr.Bosco as Commission Secretary. Now all of a sudden Fr. Bosco was sidelined from his functional role on some pretext.
Moreover we have an apprehension that Fr. Bosco would be sent away. We the Dalit Christians and Dalit communities feel that sidelining him is a willfull attempt to destroy the Dalit Christian movement.
Therefore, firslty we request the Jesuit Provincial to take just stand by retaining Fr. Bosco in his present position and place. Secondly, we earnestly request the Ecclesiastical Authority to strongly condemn the Caste Discrimination in the Church.
Yours sincerely in Christ.
Jayaraj Esukala General Secretary–SIDCA
Mobile : 87123 11112, 94941 40577
CC: to CBCI SC/ST Commission TCBC SC/ST Commission
(Note: Ever since the kidnap and torture of Kadappa’s Dalit bishop by Reddy priests last Feb.26th, the CCV, Fr. Bosco sj, and SIDCA were highlighting the cancer of Caste afflicting and disfiguring even the Episcopal Indian fraternity, all to prompt those responsible to take corrective remedial steps.
We sent all articles and factual reports to all Indian Bishops but hardly anyone has responded. No one has even come forward to condemn the dastardly act except Cardinal Osward Gracious of Bombay. He did it instantly.
The local Andhra Bishops were forced to make a joint brief statement, apparently to save face it appeared, because they reduced the whole issue to a Minority matter, without even mentioning the word ‘Caste’ in their statement.
The CBCI president Cardinal Baselius refused to utter a word on the subject even after Fr. Bosco met him privately and sent letters to him published in CCV. We have been in direct contact with Kadappa bishop, Fr.Bosco and Jayaraj the writer of this letter on this caste related issue.
Now the issue is, reportedly steps are being taken to remove Fr. Bosco, an experienced person who spearheaded the Dalit Catholic movement for the last 15 years. So the question raised is: Why the action to remove Fr. Bosco is taken furtively without discussing the issue publically with concerned persons.
Catholic hierarchy in India does not believe in dialogue or discussion with the laity, although Pope Francis has asserted, this is the hour of the laity and that the Hierarchy must listen to them first before taking serious decisions. It is borne out from the experience of CCV that bishops believe only in Diktats handed down to the laity. It is unlikely that even the above letter will received any public reponse either from the Jesuits or from the top bras of Catholic hierarchy in AP or CBCI in India.
CCV suspected this long ago. When a protest meeting against the kidnap of Kadappa Bishop was organised by Fr. Bosco and group, a Church of South India bishops took part and spoke in support of Bishop Gallela of Kadappa, but not a single Catholic bishop joined. We pointed that then itself. What does their silence and non-cooperation intent to convey? Are they all afraid to speak against practice of Caste among bishops? If they are practising it, they would hate speaking about it in public, not to get ridiculed in public.
In any case the reasons for the transfer of Fr. Bosco must be discussed in public and found out. It may be that he has been working too long for the last 15 years and the authorities have found a better able and younger person to do the job. If so it is very good. On the other hand if Fr. Bosco is being planned to be transferred, because he is out spoken against the malpractices of the Hierarchy, then it does not augur well for the Church.
We in fact had published his open letter to CBCI president which was not a tribute to him or to other bishops. The letter never got a reply from the President or comment from any bishop in India. Isn’t it strange that no bishop in India thought it his duty to express his brotherly concern for a fellow bishop who was kidnapped and illtreated? Or is it because they approve of it, since they themselves are practising caste divisions and discrimination?
In any case the letter of Jayaraj should urge all right minded persons to come out to discuss and remedy Casteism in the Church in India.
james kottoor, editor)