Expressing ‘deep anguish’ over attacks on Churches and “Ghar Waspsi” programme of Sangh Parivar outfits, the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India today said such incidents have raised concerns about a planned programme to undermine the Christian community as “second class” citizens in the country.
The CCBI expressed this view even as the Bishops held a protest march in the city covering a distance of about one km with hundreds of people also joining them.
“We, the 140 Bishops from across the country attending the 27th Plenary Assembly of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI)….hereby express our deep anguish and concern over increasing threats to peace and communal harmony in the wake of various untoward incidents affecting Christian community in different parts of the country,” a statement released by the CCBI said at the end of its meet.
Hardly a day has passed off in recent months without reports of attacks on Christians, Churches and Christian institutions from across the nation, it said.
“Churches have been torched even in the national capital while reports of ‘Ghar Waspsi’ and blatant threats to hold mass reconversions are causing anxiety to the Christians scattered in the far corners of the nation,” it added.
The bishops said “amid canards being spread and open threats against religious minorities by belligerent groups and their leaders, even elected representatives of people have made shocking statements brazenly challenging the freedom of conscience guaranteed by the Constitution of India under Article 25 (1)
“We are distressed over divisive steps from passing of resolutions to banning Christian practices at village level to an aborted national level bid to keep educational institutions open even on Christmas Day,” they said.
“Such concerted efforts at different levels raise concerns of a planned programme to undermine the Christian community as second class citizens in our motherland where the community has made immense contributions in the field of education, healthcare and social service even in the remote hinterlands,” the statement added.