Friday, January 31, 2003
Arrest of suspects accused of murder of Hindu woman social worker:
Bombay (Fides Service) - "Navleen Kumar crusaded for the rights of tribals, particularly land rights. This is why she was murdered. She was not popular, no one defended her, now we hope for justice." This was how Fr Allwyn D'Silva, director of Bombay archdiocese Commission for Justice and Peace described a 54 year old Hindu woman social worker murdered last June 19 for fighting for tribal rights. Two suspects for the murder were recently arrested in Mumbai, Maharashtra state capital.
Over the past months the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission with other human rights bodies pressured the local authorities to find and punish those responsible for the crime. Fr Allwyn D'Silva explains: "Now that two suspects have been arrested we hope justice will be done. Navleen Kumar was a Hindu but her ideals, to defend the helpless, were shared by many including Catholics. We are pleased that the case may now be cleared. Our commission will continue to work with other human rights bodies along this line. We are committed in particular to formation to increase awareness on themes of justice and peace, environment protection. We have a centre for research and documentation in contact with numerous scholars which plays an important cultural role. The centre has a department for dealing with violation of human rights, freedoms and dignity. We also have department for legal assistance and advice. The main areas of our activity are: women's questions, the environment, social exclusion, the struggle against poverty. There is a lot of work to be done. The Commission has a staff of 12 plus 12 collaborators. One of the main difficulties is social harmony. India is living a time of social and inter-religious disorder, this means we must be alert and ready to sensitise consciences, organise meetings and publications. I must say that the Catholic community in Bombay archdiocese and all over India is very sensitive and very involved at this level. Our desire is to live in a secular country, based on a culture of dialogue and tolerance." (PA) (Fides Service 30/1/2003)
On the one hand, I'm extremely heartened to see that Catholics are taking an active role in bringing about a culture of peace and justice in our country. Too often rightists accuse Christians (and particularly, Catholics) of doing too little - despite the overwhelming contributions of missionaries (who are accused of conversions).
On the other hand, I doubt if evidence can change hardened hearts.
posted by Kensy |