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India: Catholic Bishops defend Muslim communities

 The Catholic Bishops of India have appealed for justice for the country's Muslim minority about 130 million - around 10% of the whole population, which has in recent years been targeted by Hindu fundamentalists in various states of the federation, Gujarat in particular. In a press statement the Catholic Bishops welcome the Justice Sachar Committee Report recently tabled in parliament to study the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim minority community of India. The report clearly states that the Muslim Community is relatively poor, more illiterate, has lower access to education, lower representation in public and private sector jobs and lower availability of bank credit for self employment. The Report is also representative of the socio-economic conditions of other minorities communities in India, particularly Christians of Dalit origin who have been asking for their legitimate right to be treated on par with Dalits of other religious groups. However such a long standing demand of the community has been neglected by the successive governments both at the Centre and State level. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India appealed to the Central Government for the speedy completion of the Mishra Commission work on the socio-economic backwardness of other minority communities in India, so the country may truly be a democracy of pluralism, tolerance and respect for human rights. Source: Fides