Maharashtra State Minorities Commission Meeting held on “Issues of the Christian Community”




The Maharashtra State Minorities Commission thru its Chairman,Mr. Munaf Hakim invited 300 Christian Representatives from all over Maharashtra at the Sahyadri State Guest House, Malabar Hill, to discuss the issues & problems the Christian Community faces in the State of Maharashtra on 15th June’13.  This was for the first time that the State Minorities Commission has called for an exclusive meeting of Christians in the State of Maharashtra.

The Chief Guest of the meeting was the Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, Bishop Agnelo Gracias & also present on the dias were Mr. Munaf Hakim (Chairman-Maharashtra State Minorities Commission), Dr. Augustine Pinto (Chairman – Ryan’s International Group of Schools), Mrs Thanksy Francis Thakkekara (Addl Chief Secretary, Minorities Development Dept-Govt of Maharashtra), Janet D’souza (President  – Mumbai Regional Mahila Congress) & various State Govt Officers.

All Christian Denominations were present & represented in this meeting.  The SOUL Team too was invited & was represented by Dolphy D’souza (who was also on the Dias), Adv. Godfrey Pimenta, Alex Dmello & Stanley Fernandez.

Various issues pertaining to Christians were raised during the meeting by various representatives starting from persecution & violence against Christians, land grabbing by hooligans/politicians, lack of representation in State & Local Bodies (incl Legislature), dadagiri of politicians against Christian schools for admissions, dadagiri of the education dept. & police depts. against Christian schools & priests, lack of cemetery spaces, grabbing church/school lands in the name of development, issues of the East Indian community including OBC Certificate, Gaothan’s as slums, etc., closure of Christian institutions due to high property taxes & many other issues.

On behalf of the SOUL Team, Adv. Godfrey raised the issue of the unjust land acquisition both at SAC, Malwani & OLAC, Kandivali on the dais. Stanley Fernandez handed over a memorandum personally to Mr. Munaf Hakim & Mrs. Thanksy Francis Thakkekara on behalf of the SOUL Team regarding the Unjust Land Acquisition issues both at St.Anthony’s Church, Malwani, O.L of Assumption Church, Kandivali as well as the land for cemetery on the Eastern side of the Western suburbs. Personally speaking later to Dolphy D’souza, the Chairman, Mr. Munaf Hakim has agreed for a separate meeting with the SOUL Team to understand the issue both at Malwani & Kandivali.

Mr. Munaf Hakim also promised to resolve most immediate solvable issues raised in this meeting, within the next 2-3 months. He has also promised to keep another round of meeting with the Christian representatives to know how much of the current problems & issues mentioned have been resolved.

Mr. Dolphy D’souza while speaking on the dais, thanked Mr. Munaf Hakim for the initiative that he has started & undertaken. The meeting was well attended also by both the print & television media.

We the SOUL Team would like to thank Mr. Munaf Hakim, for taking a just & much needed initiative for the Christian population of the state of Maharashtra. He has personally asked us to pray for him & we collectively pray that the lord bless & protect him & see that the purpose with which he has taken his role as Chairman of the State Minorities Commission is fulfilled & bring much needed relief for the Christians & all minorities of Maharashtra.


Stanley Fernandez





  1. June 16, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Would be nice if whatever transpired at this meeting, perhaps in the form of “minutes of the meeting” or a write up is published, for all of us to see. Since elections are coming I sincerely hope this is not just another eyewash in the vote getting exercise.


  2. June 26, 2013 at 5:19 pm



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