PANJIM: The BJP government’s ‘delay’ in granting NOC to the Diocesan Society of Education to start four new higher secondary schools, is one amongst many issues that led to the Church body feeling neglected or sidelined by Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.
The cordial relationship the Archbishop or the DSE had with former chief minister Manohar Parrikar has not extended to with Parsekar. The relationship between the Archbishop and the former chief minister was such that the later had sought the blessings of the former before leaving to take up his assignment in New Delhi.
However, the new chief minister’s approach towards the minorities has upset the Archbishop. Parsekar, after taking over as chief minister, in an interview to media had said that “without the help and support of the minority community (Christians), we would not have reached here”.
Sources say that differences began to surface soon after Parrikar left Goa to take over as the Union Defence Minister in November last year. “The situation was such that the chief minister never answered phone calls of any Diocesan Society members,” said one Catholic MLA who met the Archbishop along with other Catholic MLA’s cutting across party lines.
On many occasions, the chief minister’s office even delayed or postponed or refused to give appointments to diocesan society members until and unless a ruling Catholic MLA accompanied them. “The differences continued to simmer with the Diocesan Society beginning to feel neglected and sidelined,” sources said.
The Archbishop is said to have played a crucial role in bringing BJP to power in the March 2012 assembly election, at a time when the minority community was against the saffron party. The BJP, under Parrikar, which was known as an ‘anti-minority’ party before the assembly election, slowly started gaining confidence of this section, which constitutes almost 26.7 percent of the State population.
Sources within the Church body, privy to the discussion that Archbishop had with MLA’s, revealed that the Church is of the firm view that the State cannot choose to ignore the voice of the Christian community in determining the values which will shape the future of the nation. At the same time, church is committed to extend its support and backing to government initiatives which are taken to sincerely promote the genuine development of human persons and communities.
As reported by Herald on Wednesday, the Society is upset as the government has failed to give NOC for four new higher secondary schools in Canacona, Bicholim, Pernem and Usgao, despite the fact that Parrikar had ‘in-principle’ granted approval.
The society also demands immediate implementation of the long-pending Medium of Instruction (MoI) policy, which has currently been referred to the Select Committee of the State Legislative Assembly. Apparently the Diocesan schools are not been given grant-in-aid as promised.