Bhopal: The Archdiocese of Bhopal organized a peaceful sit-in to highlight various problems Christians face in Madhya Pradesh state as well as in India.
Representatives of various Churches on June 20 spoke on topics related to Christians at the meeting held at Ambedkar park in Bhopal’s Tulsi Nagar area. The program began with a prayer.
Father Maria Stephen, the public relations officer of Bhopal archdiocese, said the Christians had gathered together not to do evil to any individual, government or organization, but to meditate and become aware of the rights granted by the Indian Constitution. “Religious freedom – Fundamental Right for everyone and everywhere and Build ‘bridges’ with love and not ‘walls’ with hatred,” he added.
Other speakers talked about ways to build positive attitude toward the Christian missionaries in society.
The program was organized in the backdrop of recent arrest of a Catholic nun who accompanied some tribal women in a train. Madhya Pradesh in central India witnessed two similar incidents within a month.
Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal noted that all missionary institutions employ people of all castes and religions. “Missionary organizations work on secular thinking, and respect all religions. But some fundamentalists always try to defame these institutions and attempts to give communal colors to any event occurring in these institutions,” the archbishop bemoaned in a message that was read out at the meeting.
The prelate also noted that missionaries work in the rural and urban areas forgetting their personal comforts and become the voice of the voiceless. “Just recently, on June 13, the same situation was witnessed in Satna Railway station when a nun and four women were forced to get down from the train on the complaint of a fundamentalist organization,” he added.
The Church leaders alleged that religious minorities in the state do not get the benefit of various schemes. The delay by government officials to process applications from minority communities prevents them from benefitting from the state’s welfare programs.
The speakers demanded that the authorities simplify the schemes so that the minority can avail those schemes and move forward. Christians, they added, have full faith in the laws of India and the Constitution. They pleaded the administration not to fall prey to the misrepresentation of the fundamentalists. Regardless of their religion, the officials should not be disturbed or threatened with terror, they added.
(Source: Daily Pioneer)