By Ipsita Dash
Bhubaneswar: The announcement of financial assistance to minority institutions of the state by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reinforces the fact that Naveen’s secular credentials are intact and he wants development of all the sections of the society.
His endeavor to develop the religious places of various communities has been welcomed by everybody and is an integral part of his objective to take all along in the development of the state.
The government wants to transform the infrastructure and availability of services in all the important religious places of the state and as part of this taken the ambitious redevelopment plans in Puri, Konark, Bhubaneswar and other places.
The Chief Minister also announced for the development of various religious institutions of the minority communities. The grant will be helpful to develop the facilities for pilgrims and construction of buildings such as prayer halls and community halls.
The government has sanctioned Rs 2 crore to the Jesus Christ and Mother Merry, Bhubaneswar Catholic Church and Capital Masjid in Unit-4 area in Bhubaneswar. Also, the government has sanctioned Rs 2 crore each for Odia Baptist Church at Mission road, Cuttack and Kadam-e-Rasool mosque at Dargha Bazar. A number of other institutions have also been given financial assistance by the government. This initiative of Naveen clearly shows that he has been consistently maintaining his secular credentials ever since he joined the political sphere. From snapping of ties with the ally BJP in the aftermath of the Kandhamal riots, to taking action against the culprits, he has shown that minorities are given importance.
The Naveen led government has been hailed for its efforts by all quarters as the initiatives are far away from electoral appeasements. Unlike other parties who remember the minorities during elections only, Naveen has been taking care of them regularly.
Recently, on the Citizenship Amendment Act also, Naveen removed the fears of the minority community saying the Biju Janata Dal will not support the NRC. While visiting a Church in Bhubaneswar on the occasion of Christmas, Naveen said, “Remember that I am with all of you…” . He also met the representatives of Muslim community and assured them that the government will not support any act that hurts the minorities.
The author is a Mumbai-based professional