Fire destroys St. Sebastian Church in Delhi. NCCI Letter to Prime Minister

Below is the text of a letter written to Indian Prime Minister by Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of National Council of Churches in India.

December 2, 2014
Honorable Prime Minister,
288700-delhi-church-burntOn behalf of the NCCI, I strongly urge you to take immediate measures to ensure that minority communities are not subject to attacks by fundamentalist communal groups. The Christian church in the country wants to see that democratic secularism in spirit and practice is strengthened by your government.
Instances of atrocities against Christian communities are on the rise in the country. Earlier in November, Catholic priests in the Bastar region in Chhattisgarh were told that all their schools were to install statues of Goddess Saraswati and they would not be allowed to be called “Father”, the usual honorific, by the students, but would be called “Pracharya” and so on. In other districts of Chhattisgarh, village panchayats under political influence have passed regulations banning non-Hindu religious persons from organising prayers or opening places of worship in their territory. On 16th November 2014 a Mar Thoma Prayer House was attacked during Holy Communion Service at Kongalnagaram, Udumalpet, Tiruppur District, Tamil Nadu. On Sunday, 30th November 2014, two house churches in Annupur district of Madhya Pradesh were attacked. We are aghast that St. Sebastian Church in Dilshad Garden, East Delhi has been gutted by a fire set off by miscreants on 1st December 2014.
As a well-read person, you are certainly aware of the tremendous contribution made by Christians, in history and up to the present, towards nation building through education, health care, orphanages, old people’s homes, counseling ministries, relief services provided during natural calamities, and the ongoing work for rehabilitation and development. The Church in India continues to be committed to the cause of dalits, tribal/adivasis, women, youth, children, the disabled, PLWA, mother earth – indeed all creation, particularly those who have been marginalized. We are committed to an India developed on the principles of justice and peace.
Therefore I once again urge you to bring in suitable measures to cultivate a culture of democratic secularism and an appropriate mechanism to ensure that it is implemented. In the meantime, judicial inquiries should be constituted to address all acts of religious fundamentalism and communalism against Christians and fellow minority communities in India.
Thanking you in anticipation,
Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

General Secretary, NCC India

Letter to PM 2.12.2014

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