Panaji: Goa Church's educational arm Archdiocesan Board of Education (ABE) on Tuesday defended its decision to call a meeting of Catholic MLAs to seek their help for lobbying with the state government.
BJP, Congress and independent legislators participated in the ABE meeting on June 10. The BJP, however, subsequently pulled up its legislators for lobbying for ABE.
Around half a dozen BJP MLAs were summoned by party high command last week after they pressurised the state government to give permission to four higher secondary schools ABE wants to set up.
"We have no right to call all the MLAs, or MLAs of other communities. We have called the catholic MLAs because they are the members of our community. Is there anything wrong if we wanted to share our concerns with them?" said Sister Annie Paul Fhic, secretary, ABE.
Sister Fhic added that this was not the first the Church had invited the Catholic MLAs for such a meeting.
"We never meant, nor do we mean to, communalize in any way, because the issues shared with them were only of educational nature and specifically with regard to the permissions to open new schools and nothing else," she said.
ABE-run educational institutes also cater to students from other communities, who in some cases form more than 50 percent of the students, she said.
"All the?schools applied for?are situated in remote areas and not in the cities. ABE followed the required process and exhausted all possible means to obtain the required permissions," she said.
ABE panicked because despite start of academic year, the permissions were yet to come, leaving the parents confused, and therefore it decided to invite the catholic MLAs to share its worry, she added.