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PARA Andhra Pradesh organises Salesian Social Forum (SSF) Meet

By Father Baly Yerramaneni
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Hyderabad, Feb. 12. 14 Salesians consisting of 07 from INM, 05 from INH and 02 from INK participated in a 03-day SSF (Salesian Social Forum)Meet organised by PARA (People's Action for Rural Awakening), at Ravulapalem, in verdant Konaseema of East Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh.
Day 01 of the meeting was devoted to soul-searching on the identity of the group in the broader context of the core-identity of being human,with the gifted task of promotion of the human person. This was an awareness process entailing the shedding of many masks and distracting identities, to recover their true humanity, enabling in turn equal relations with fellow human beings. The participants also became aware that a fine-tuning of the Statutes, to be true to the original impulse of being open to the human and to the secular, sloughing off many a sheath of clericalism and patriarchies, is a must.

The participants also engaged in an analysis of the current situation, noting the erosion of democracy and the emergence of undemocratic tendencies all over. The SSF unanimously decided that the value of speaking truth to power is a sure means of safeguarding democratic values, while shunning neutrality. The SSF also deliberated micro/macro level strategies to enhance the upkeep of democratic values and actove citizenship. Sexual Abuse and its link to abuse of power and patriarchies was discussed at length, zeroing in on effective strategies within societal and church structure.  The SSF unanimously agreed that conscientious challenges to a prevalent culture of privileges, is needed to counter and prevent the rampant  sexual abuse, especially of the Dalit and Tribal women, mostly unreported in the media. In the light of recent incidents, the SSF observed that the established machinery  moves expeditiously, towards the redressal of the complaints, even in a vengeful and unconstitutional manner when it concerns women  of the upper societal strata.

Day 02 commenced with a viewing of Mahua Moitra's response to the President's address in the Parliament, after which, Father Ignatius Vattigunta familiarized the SSF with the different PARA's operational style, which was conspicuously people and poor-friendly. The SSF decided to relay its views at the General Chapter 28, with a request to promote humanity, in tandem with the gospel, as reflected in the UDHR, UNCRC and other pertinent documents. The morning of Day 03 was devoted to charting the future course of action.

PARA the Justice and Peace Centre of INH (Province of Hyderabad) also houses OOTA (Wellspring), the province Psycho-Social and Legal Aid Services. The venue evoked memories of the many interventions by PARA over the last 34 years, and the liberative ripples set in motion way back in 1976, by the Kristu Jyoti College scholastics' intervention to set bonded labourers free!
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