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'People are frightened, but nobody knows what to do'

Last updated on: May 15, 2023 20:11 IST
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'There is no one who will be able to have a dignified life, when your brother and sister of another community are not being treated as human.'

IMAGE: Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy Gordon Johnson/Pixabayr

In November 2021, the Bombay high court allowed Father (Dr) Frazer Mascarenhas, SJ, to approach the court to clear the name of Father Stan Swamy, the oldest of the 16 Bhima Koregaon accused, who died in hospital in July 2021.

In December 2022, Father Frazer spoke at a media interaction conducted by an independent organisation, 'Mumbai Rises To Save Democracy', which called upon the public and media to raise their voices against an authoritarian State.

Known to speak freely and stand by his principles, Father Frazer, who is now the parish priest at a Mumbai church, tells Senior Contributor Neeta Kolhatkar, "The young are so caught up today in just survival for their future, they are not taking real cognisance of what is happening in society. They haven't seen it as an avalanche coming!"

The concluding part of the interview:

Do your colleagues and friends caution you to not speak and be careful?

(Smiles). Not really.

People feel I'm outspoken, but they also think that I am discreet enough and that I'm also acting as an impartial manner!

I'm not taking any political sides.

I'm talking about issues. So I'm not targeting or addressing any particular political formation.

What in your opinion are millennials worried about? Are they aware of political issues, of social realities?

No, not really. On the contrary, I feel it has become a situation that is really troubling.

The young are so caught up today in just survival for their future, they are not taking real cognisance of what is happening in society, on the ground.

They are looking at educational opportunities, job opportunities, careers and the like. So their political awareness and their political consciousness -- by political, I mean decision making, public policies; I don't mean party politics -- it is not something they are engaged with. They are engaged totally with personal opportunities, to grow and to be successful in their careers.

So I find it difficult today than it was ten years ago to generate a debate on such issues.

Now it is more of a denial. They may be conscious at some level, but they are pushing it away and denying it totally, hoping that things will change and things will improve.

They haven't seen it as an avalanche coming! They haven't understood that.

IMAGE: A protest against marital rape. Photograph: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court recently ruled that marital rape would be considered as rape for the purpose of abortion. This was part of the abortion ruling delivered by the apex court. How do you see this ruling?

I think this ruling is very logical. However, I would not be able to accept abortion under any circumstances, because it is the extinguishing of a life, of a person who is most vulnerable in the womb.

Whether it is through marital rape or any other form, miscalculation by the couple, whatever the reasons are, there is no question of accepting abortion.

I believe life is not only to be accepted as human after birth.

Our medical science shows us the foetus is capable of being human, so if a child has been conceived it should be given a chance for life.

In case the mother is unable to look after the child, then society should step in and that is what Catholic institutions have been doing across the world.

Where is the question of extinguishing life once it has started?

IMAGE: Nuns protest against the tabling of the Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill in Bengaluru, December 22, 2021. Photograph: Abhishek Chinnappa/Getty Images

Do you fear Christians will be targeted like Muslims are?

Christians have been targeted for quite some time.

Our bishop from Bangalore has filed a case in the Supreme Court asking for protection from harassment and atrocities being done right across the country.

They are targeting all minorities including the Dalits.

All minorities are being made victims in some way.

It is frightening for the rest.

It should also be frightening for those in the majority community because one by one we will be ticked off, like it happened in Germany.

There is no one who will be able to have a dignified life, when your brother and sister of another community are not being treated as human.

You cannot live a full, dignified, life, because your dignity is also impaired.

IMAGE: Father (Dr) Frazer Mascarenhas SJ. Photograph: Neeta Kolhatkar

It is very clear not just the Muslims, Christians too for a very long time, the Dalits, tribals, all the minorities, are at the wrong end of the stick.

It will get worse.

People are frightened, but nobody knows what to do.

You see, the only ones who stayed the course are the farmers. They lost many lives on that march, but if they had not done it, their lives were at stake.

All their farms and lands would have been taken over by the corporates and they would have been left with chillar.

It is not just a communal agenda, it is a crony capitalist, highly centralised, capitalism which is being acted upon.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

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