Kolkata: Representatives of several Anglo-Indian associations held a three-day meeting in the city to discuss various welfare-related issues of the community and the Centre’s decision to end reservations for Anglo-Indians in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies, citing decline in their population as one of the reasons.
Members of the All-India Anglo-Indian Association, Federation of Anglo-Indian Association, Association of Heads of Anglo-Indian Schools and All-India Anglo-Indian Education Institution took part in the gathering. Principals of convent schools, eminent personalities and MLAs from the community also took part in the meeting.
On December 12, 2019, the Centre announced its decision to do away with norm of having two nominated representatives of the Anglo-Indian community in the Lok Sabha and assemblies by amending the Constitution. During the three-day gathering, the members discussed ways to urge the government to roll-back the decision.
General secretary of the All-India Anglo-Indian Association, Rudolf Woodman, told News18, “There are many issues which need to be highlighted, including the community’s well-being and the Centre’s move to end reservations.”
Recently, the association’s president, Barry O’Brien, had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention in the matter, keeping in mind the community’s contribution in nation-building.
Another member of the association, who did not wish to be named, said, “We have decided to stand united against the Centre decision. Though we are a small community, but we need representation in Parliament and assemblies to highlight our issues. We believe it is an unjust move.”
Father Felix Raj, Vice-Chancellor of St Xavier’s University, said, “Heads of nearly 150 schools from all over India came to Kolkata to attend the three-day event. The agenda was to discuss the overall situation in India, effective education of children and highlighting the privilege that was taken away from the Anglo-Indian community from the Lok Sabha.”
“I believe it was a humiliating development. A memorandum will be sent to the Prime Minister for his re-consideration into the matter. I also believe that we need to move forward with constructive measures for the betterment of the Anglo Indian and Christian community,” he said.
Denzil J Goden, representative of the Anglo-Indian community in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, said, “Members of Anglo-Indian schools meet every year in some part of the country and this time, it was held in Kolkata. We all came here to attend the meeting and we primarily discussed ways to improve the education system and what will be our contribution to society.”