Covid19 has exacerbated the conditions of marginality in which a large portion of the Indian population lived. The dioceses have taken action to give support to those who are most in need.
The lockdown in India is having devastating effects on the poorest sections of the population. The dioceses of the entire country are working to respond to this catastrophic situation, that however is necessary to contain the coronavirus contagion.
Monsignor Felix Machado, archbishop of Vasai and secretary general of the Indian Episcopal Conference (Cbci), declares to AsiaNews: “In all the dioceses of the country, the small Christian communities are serving persons, elderly, those who are alone and in the peripheries. It is an intense and extended network that has been working for years already. The leaders of the groups know the condition of those who live in their own areas, and they make sure that they are all reached, so that no one is excluded”.
In India there is a strong element of internal migration. The inhabitants of the rural areas move to the big cities to find a job and, from there, they send money to the families they left behind. The pandemic imposed the interruption of these jobs that were already poorly paid, thus impeding, furthermore, the reunification of the economic migrants with the families.
In this context, the aids provided by the religious institutions are fundamental. Father Warner D’Souza, priest of the St. Jude Church of Malad and secretary of the Commission for the pastoral initiatives of the archdiocese of Mumbai, is one of the priests that organised solidarity plans to help those who are most in need, by reorganising the diocesan budget to use it for aids for the poor.
Monsignor Machado says that “the clergy, the religious persons and the nuns of Vasai are taking care of the Dalit - the last among the last, the “outcast”, the fifth cast in the rigid caste and religious Hindu system - and of the tribe members and migrants from any cast and creed, who lost their job and home. Machado concluded by saying that many of them work for constructions companies.