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Christians Assemble To Protest Against Anti-Conversion Bill

Published On : 05 Dec 2021   |  Reported By : C V Joseph

Protest Peace Gathering Of Christian Denominations Held At Bangalore Catholic Cathedral Grounds

Bengaluru, Dec. 04: sThe Christians of various denominations gathered for the Peace Assembly to pray for the non-promulgation of the Anti-Conversion Bill at the Catholic cathedral grounds here on December 4.

Speaking on the occasion, Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore earnestly appealed to all Christians who joined the Peace Gathering to demonstrate the unity and strength of Christians and also to express strong opposition and apathy for the proposed Bill. Archbishop Machado urged all to publicly assert and demand “our Fundamental Rights and Constitutional Privileges.”

Archbishop Machado, president, All Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights which organized the programme of protest, said power and authority comes from God. Anyone in power cannot misuse that authority given by God. Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Pope Francis and embraced him. Speaking in Kannada, English and Hindi, Dr Machado said faith of all people have to be respected. We have our own rights as well. We serve the humanity. The first Kannada dictionary was written by a Christian missionary. The officers and leaders in high positions are all brought out from our educational institutions. We do not take advantage of our achievements but only give service to all sections of the community and society. He appealed to the large gathering to pray for the government as “we work for God and country.” The archbishop who is also the president, Karnataka Region Catholic Bishops’ Council appreciated the assistance and support rendered by the police department.

The members of the Forum included Assemblies of God, Baptist Church, Believers Eastern Church, Roman Catholic Church, Church of South India, FCCO, Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church, Lutheran Church, Malankara Orthodox Church, Marthoma Syrian Church, Methodist Church and Seventh Day Adventists.

K J George, MLA and former State Home Minister speaking on the occasion among other things pointed out a number of recent incidents that have taken place in the State. He expressed his concern over the happenings and brutality against humanity.

Margaret Alva, Governor in different States and Union Minister said Christians are a peace-loving community, never a violent section. She wondered why all these drama here and now. Alva stated that she failed to understand what the government was trying to create in the peaceful Karnataka. She said she received education from the Jesuits. What crime the Jesuits of Ranchi committed, she queried. She challenged to point out five names who were converted in any Christian institutions. Even though the British, French, Dutch and Portuguese ruled us, yet the number has not even reached 3%. The number should have come to 30% if conversion had taken place. The missionaries spent money and time for service to people. Margaret Alva said she was in charge of North East for 20 years and had seen the nuns running in villages, managing schools for the tribal people of Arunachal to Mizoram. Christians are not afraid as Christianity grew in the blood of martyrs. All are called to defend the faith. This is a challenge not only for Christians but for Muslims and Sikhs as well.

Alva among other things said “my religion is given to me by the Constitution to follow, practice and propagate.” It has given this right to all. Christmas is approaching, more and more restrictions could be imposed to prevent us from celebrating it. “We have to stand united, all minorities need to be united.” About 90% of people are with us including Hindus. We must be determined and resolute in our stand. They can do nothing to kill us or our religion. Alva who spoke both in Kannada and English suggested to to organize such gatherings and rally in every parish at least on a Sunday.

Dr Belgami Mohammad Saad who was among others spoke said the choice of religion is of the individual as the Constitution has granted it to all. We are all created by the same God. We have prophet Jesus Christ and others as our guide. Existence of discrimination has to be removed at all cost. A crisis has come about against which all have to come together to safeguard the real Indian ethos. Humanity is our first religion. It is a tragedy what happens today. The right wing has to see reason and we all have to make appeals to the government to make them change their stand.

Naveen Peter read out a memorandum which was earlier presented to the DC. All present joined hands and raised them uttering divine verse in unison indicating they stand united. Earlier, the programme began with praise and worship, prayer song, bible reading by Jayraj and Pastor Sebastian Ravia Kumar welcomed the dignitaries and special invitees. The programme came to a close with Archbishop’s prayer and blessings.

The crowd of people gathered in larger numbers on the opposite side of the cathedral grounds as the police and volunteers prevented the people from going to the venue.

Among others present on the dais included Bishop P K Samuel, Bishop Sebastian Adayantrath, Fr Yashwanth Kumar, Bishop MorDemetrios, Pastor Lokesh, Dr C Dwarakanath, J Alexander, Vinisha Nero, MLA, J R Lobo, David Simeon,Ivan Nigli, Ex MLA,Ivan D’Souza, Ex MLA, Msgr S Jayanathan, Msgr C Francis, Ronald Colaco, F T R Colaco, Rtd IG, Lukose Vallathara, Jaijo JosephWilson Reddy, JDS (Chr. Wing Pres), Sebastian Anthony, Jayakar Jeromeand Kennedy Shanthakumar. Scores of priests and nuns besides lay leaders and people of all walks of life gathered in support of and in solidarity with the Peaceful Assembly.

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