Minorities

Christians protest through Mumbai streets against attacks on churches in Delhi

February 10, 2015 04:32 AM

 Potestors  denounced the Anti-Conversion Bill seeking ban on conversions

MUMBAI: Several hundred Christians led by community NGOs gathered at Azad Maidan Monday afternoon to protest the recent attacks on churches in New Delhi.

"Moreover, the Central government's deafening silence is something we are not happy about. This is making us disillusioned with the state of affairs. After all we had voted for the BJP led by Narendra Modi in the hope of good governance for all sections of society."

The speakers held up US president Barack Obama's recent comments about "growing religious intolerance" in India to express their concerns about the saffron brigade's 'ghar wapsi' programme. However, they denounced the Anti-Conversion Bill, which seeks to ban religious conversions by all groups.

Representatives of the Catholic Church turned up to express their upset. Auxiliary bishop Agnelo Gracias said, "I believe these attacks are not isolated incidents. I would use the allegory of water lilies in a pond. On the surface each appears to be an individual flower but beneath the surface, they are all connected to a common stem."

Bishop Agnelo said that hundreds of people had turned up although they were notified only three days ago, because they felt so keenly. "Moreover, the Central government's deafening silence is something we are not happy about. This is making us disillusioned with the state of affairs. After all we had voted for the BJP led by Narendra Modi in the hope of good governance for all sections of society."

Indeed, it was a paradigm shift for the Catholic Church to announce support for the ""good governance"" plank of the BJP over its traditional ""secular"" favourite the Congress party.

Addressing the rally, Abraham Mathai of the Indian Christian Voice said, "We support Modi's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan but I feel he needs to initiate a Swachh Dil Abhiyan to remove hatred from people's hearts."

The president of the Bombay Catholic Sabha Gordon D'Souza will present a memorandum to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis urging him to seek the PM's intervention. ""It is time Modi broke his silence and urged the reactionary groups to stop their hate campaign. These attacks are extremely disturbing but the silver lining is that they have forged unprecedented unity among disparate Christian groups,"" he said.

Former navy chief Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat and theatre personality Dolly Thakore also addressed the gathering. Two Muslim clerics joined voice to the protest as well.

 

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