Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christianity, India share same culture, tradition: Home Minister

Christianity, India share same culture, tradition: Home Minister 

Rajnath Singh addressing Christmas gathering
New Delhi: India will not allow any injustice to happen to Christians, federal Home Minister Rajnath Singh said amid allegations that the government condones increasing attacks on churches and church workers in various parts of the country.
“I want to assure all bishops and cardinals that if you face any problem, contact me directly. I will not allow any injustice to happen to you,” Singh, who is the second in command in the federal cabinet, told a Christmas gathering on Thursday in New Delhi.
Singh was the chief guest at the gathering organized by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) at its headquarters in the national capital. Leaders from various Christian denominations, members of parliament, diplomats, and media persons attended the gathering.
Singh asserted that India will remain an inclusive and accommodative society and that it has welcomed all religions with open arms.
Accommodation and inclusiveness are the tradition of India and Christianity too has the similar character. “Indian tradition and culture are similar to Christianity,” he added.
The minister also noted that “Christianity came to India in 52 AD and became part of the country much before it spread to Europe.”
India hosts one of the oldest churches in the world — in Kerala which was set up in the 1st AD. Terming Christmas as a pious festival, the minister said the biggest teachings of Jesus Christ were love, humaneness and justice to all. “Even if someone commits atrocity to you, you do justice to them,” he said.
Singh said his religion teaches offering love and respect to everyone. “Even though methods of prayer are different the message is the same,” he added.
The home minister dismissed as “an aberration” series of attacks on churches and Christian institutions starting on December 1, 2014, and lasted for nearly three months. He wondered why those attacks happened only around the election time.
“You may call it as a conspiracy or coincidence, but all such incidents had happened before the Delhi elections and stopped after the polls. I don’t know why it happened,” he added.
Delhi elected its legislative assembly in February this year.
Singh conveyed the greetings of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and assured the religious leaders that the government is fully committed to maintain peace and communal harmony in the country.
Singh urged the gathering to not doubt the support the federal government, Modi and he always extend to Christians.
Earlier, CBCI spokesperson Father Gyanprakash Toppo told Matters India that a delegation from the conference led by Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, had invited Singh to the Christmas gathering when it met him earlier in December.
Singh, who is known for his criticism of the Church’s social role in the country, readily accepted the invitation.
The mass circulation Hindustan Times reported that Singh had slammed conversion, an allegation against the Church, in March this year. Singh told a conference of the National Commission for Minorities in New Delhi that he did not understand why the Church’s service to poor had to be tied to conversion to Christianity.
Singh’s remark was seen as a harsh attack on the Church from the government that had found in the middle of a tough cultural climate, the newspaper added.
The Church has labored to build a political bridge with the Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian people’s party) that heads the federal coalition government, the newspaper noted.
In February, the Syro-Malabar Church got Prime Minister Narendra Modi to open a national event to celebrate the canonization of two Indians. Modi used the forum to condemn attacks at Christian places. Every citizen, the prime minister said, had the “undeniable” right to follow any faith, without “coercion” or “undue influence.”
Themina Arora, a lawyer who has helped with rehabilitation of the survivors of the 2008 attacks on Christians in Odisha, says that while there has been no large-scale outbreak of violence, targeted attacks against both Muslims and Christians are still happening on a regular basis.
“What we continue to see (is) physical violence, sexual assault, rapes, murders, desecration of churches and a lot of threats and intimidations,” she told Catholic News Agency.
Arora said 121 incidents were recorded from January through November 2015 – but she is far from having received all the reports.
She expects the number to go up before the year is over, because “Christmastime unfortunately gets a little violent,” since people are out on the street and more visible.

Arora was in Rome last week participating in a Dec. 10-12 conference titled “Under Caesar’s Sword: An International Conference on Christian Response to Persecution.”


തെരഞ്ഞെടുപ്പ് അടുക്കുമ്പോള്‍ പള്ളികള്‍ അക്രമിക്കപ്പെടുന്നത് ഗൂഢാലോചനയെന്ന് രാജ്‌നാഥ് സിംഗ്

Friday 18th of December 2015 11:38:55 AM
ന്യൂഡല്‍ഹി: തെരഞ്ഞെടുപ്പ് അടുക്കുമ്പോള്‍ പള്ളികള്‍ അക്രമിക്കപ്പെടുന്നതില്‍ ഗൂഢാലോചനയുണ്ടെന്ന് കേന്ദ്ര ആഭ്യന്തരമന്ത്രി രാജ്‌നാഥ് സിംഗ്. ഭാരതീയ സംസ്‌കാരത്തിന്റെ രൂപവും സ്വഭാവവും എല്ലാ മതങ്ങളെയും ഉള്‍ക്കൊള്ളുന്നതാണ്. ഈ മൂല്യവും നമ്മുടെ സംസ്‌കാരത്തിന്റെ പാരമ്പര്യവും ഉയര്‍ത്തിപ്പിടിക്കുന്നതിലാണ് സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ വിശ്വസിക്കുന്നതെന്നും രാജ്‌നാഥ് സിംഗ് പറഞ്ഞു. 

ഡല്‍ഹിയില്‍ കാത്തലിക് ബിഷപ് കോണ്‍ഫറന്‍സിന്റെ ക്രിസ്തുമസ് ആഘോഷ ചടങില്‍ സംസാരിക്കുകയായിരുന്നു അദ്ദേഹം. കഴിഞ്ഞ നിയമസഭാ തെരഞ്ഞെടുപ്പിന് മുന്നോടിയായി ഡല്‍ഹിയില്‍ നിരവധി ക്രിസ്ത്യന്‍ പള്ളികള്‍ക്ക് നേരെ അക്രമം നടന്നിരുന്നു. ഇക്കാര്യം ഓര്‍മപ്പെടുത്തിയായിരുന്നു രാജ്‌നാഥ് സിംഗിന്റെ വാക്കുകള്‍. 

സമാധാനത്തിന്റെയും ഐക്യത്തിന്റെയും നീതിയുടെയും സന്ദേശമാണ് ക്രിസ്മസ് നല്‍കുന്നത്. നൂറ്റാണ്ടുകളായി സമാധാനപരമായി ക്രിസ്മസ് ആഘോഷിക്കുന്ന രാജ്യമാണ് നമ്മുടേതെന്നും രാജ്‌നാഥ് സിംഗ് കൂട്ടിച്ചേര്‍ത്തു. പ്രധാനമന്ത്രിയുടെ ക്രിസ്മസ് പുതുവത്സര ആശംസകളും ചടങ്ങില്‍ രാജ്‌നാഥ് സിംഗ് അറിയിച്ചു. 

ക്രൈസ്തവ സമൂഹത്തിന്റെ സുരക്ഷ സര്‍ക്കാരിന്റെ ഉത്തരവാദിത്വമാണെന്നും രാജ്യത്തെ ക്രിസ്ത്യന്‍ സമൂഹത്തോടൊപ്പം നിന്ന ചരിത്രമാണ് എന്‍ഡിഎയ്ക്കും ബിജെപിക്കും ഉള്ളതെന്നും രാജ്‌നാഥ് സിംഗ് പറഞ്ഞു. ക്രിസ്തു മതം പ്രചരിച്ച കാലത്ത് തന്നെ ഭാരത്തിലെത്തിയത് ഇവിടുത്തെ സഹിഷ്ണുതയുടെ പ്രകടമായ ഉദാഹരണമാണെന്നും രാജ്‌നാഥ് സിംഗ് കൂട്ടിച്ചേര്‍ത്തു.


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