|National United Christian Forum
( CBCI, NCCI and EFI )
Yusuf Sadan, 1 Ashok Place, New Delhi – 110001
+91 11 23343457/ 23362058 Fax: +91 11 23746575
National United Christian Forum Raises serious concerns
|New Delhi: 20/12/2014We, the members of the National United Christian Forum (NUCF) comprising the three leading Churches of India, i.e. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), together express our serious concern about the current situation of the minorities, particularly the Christians in India.
The recent happenings in Bastar forcing the school to put the statue of Sarsawati Maa in a Catholic school and forbidding the children to address the principle with the honorific ‘Father’; the burning of a church in Delhi; the declaration of ‘Good Governance Day’ on 25th December to undermine the importance of Christmas; the provocative call by some fundamentalists to convert 4000 Christians to Hinduism in Agra on Christmas Day and the regular targeting of the Christian community, calling them even anti-national is a cause of great concern for us.
Shri Narendra Modi,
Prime Minister of India
Honorable Prime Minister,
This letter is a continuation of the concerns expressed in the letter of 2ndDecember 2014 sent from the NCCI Secretariat. The NCCI is a council representing about 14 million Christians in India belonging to the Protestant and Orthodox Traditions in India. We are committed to unity, witness, service and exemplary practice in the country. As a well-read person, you are certainly aware of the tremendous contribution made by Christians of all traditions (Including Catholics), 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.
God with us: Gospel in a Groaning World
Our Groaning World
We live in a world marked by several sufferings: “Many continue to reel from the impact of wars; ethnic and religious animosity, discrimination based on race and caste mar the façade of nations and leave ugly scars. Thousands are dead, displaced, homeless, refugees within their own homeland. Women and children often bear the brunt of conflicts: many women are abused, trafficked, killed; children are separated from their parents, orphaned, recruited as soldiers, abused. Citizens in some countries face violence by occupation, paramilitaries, guerrillas, criminal cartels or government forces. Citizens of many nations suffer governments obsessed with national security and armed might; yet these fail to bring real security, year after year. Thousands of children die each day from inadequate nutrition while those in power continue to make economic and political decisions that favor a relative few.”
(An Ecumenical Call to Justice and Peace, Resource Material for International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica, in May 2011, under the theme “Glory to God and Peace on Earth”)
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.
Nagpur | November 21, 2014
STATEMENT | NCCI URGES RESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM
World Council of Churches
Theological Consultation on ‘Economy of Life’
27 – 30 October 2014, CSI Guest House, Chennai, India
The Commission on Justice, Peace and Creation of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), joining the Board of Diaconal Ministries of the Church of South India (CSI) Synod hosted the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) Theological Consultation on ‘Economy of Life’ from 27 – 30 October 2014 at CSI Guest House in Chennai, India.
40 participants representing different geo-political landscapes and peoples’ groups, global and contextual theological and ecumenical fraternities, civil society movements, christian churches and local congregations, interfaith communities and ecumenical movements from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and North America actively participated in the consultation.
As we celebrate the World Week of Prayer for Palestine and Israel, with its focus this year on all those Palestinians who are unjustly imprisoned by Israel, and the theme being “Let My People Go!”, Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of NCCI has written an open letter expressing solidarity with them and assuring them of our prayers.
Dear Unjustly Imprisoned Palestinian Brothers and Sisters,
As you undergo the brutalities of injustice and suffering meted out to you by the Israeli authorities, we express our deepest solidarity with you in your present condition.
Greetings from National Council of Churches in India.
Human rights activists are campaigning to have nation-wide observation of “Kandhamal Day” to ensure justice to the victims of the sectarian violence that took place six years ago. The communal violence that started on Aug. 25, 2008 lasted for almost three months and killed hundreds of people, mostly Christians. There have been more than 3,300 complaints, but only 820 odd FIRs were registered. The rest of the complaints were not even registered. Of these complaints, only 518 cases were charge sheeted. The remaining cases were treated as false reports. And out of these 518 cases, 247 cases were disposed off.
The rest of the cases are pending before the sessions and magistrate’s courts.(source: ucanindia.in/news)
The Utkal Christian Council of the National Council of Churches in India, has proposed observing August 16, 2014 as prayer day related to the Kandhamal persecution of Christians. The Council has been closely accompanying the victims of Kandhamal in their struggle for justice. On August 16, 2014 the Utkal Christian Council is inviting all leaders of Churches and organizations to a mega prayer summit at Happy Valley Home, Badenaju, Gudayagiri – 762100 to be held from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM along with believers in the Kandhamal area.
Smt. Sushma Swaraj
Cabinet Minister of External Affairs, Government of India
Greetings to you from the National Council of Churches in India!
The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) is concerned about thepresent conflict between Israel and Palestine in West Asia. It has beenreported that around 184 Palestinians died and more than 1,330 peopleare wounded. The majority of the victims are Civilians, Children and Elderlypeople. The Hamas has also fired rockets inside Israel. The violence of bothsides is condemnable.
The situation in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, and Palestine, as we all are aware, is of global concern. The conflict in Syria appears on the surface to be a battle between those loyal to President Bashar Al-Assadand those who oppose him. The uprising against him began in March 2011 in Deraa, when several demonstrators were killed by security forces while protesting against the arrest of some teenagers who had painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall. This spread to nationwide protests in May, demanding the President’s resignation.
The death toll in Syria’s three-year conflict has climbed past 160,000, as per the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a harrowing figure that reflects the relentless bloodletting in a civil war that appears no closer to being resolved. The crisis has also uprooted some 6.5 million people from their homes, forced 2.7 million to flee the country, laid waste to cities and towns alike, and unleashed sectarian hatreds that have rippled across the region. (cf. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/syria-death-toll/)
The ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have taken a tremendous toll on the people of those countries. As of April 2014, at the very least, 174,000 civilians have been determined to have died violent deaths because of the wars. The actual number of deaths, direct and indirect, as a result of the wars is many times higher than this figure.
The decade long war in Afghanistan has continued to take lives with each passing year. As of February 2014, at least 21,000 civilians are estimated to have died violent deaths due to the war. The total number of civilians killed in Pakistan may be as high as or higher than the toll in Afghanistan, with NGO estimates ranging widely between 20,000 and 50,000 recorded deaths. In Iraq, over 70 percent of those who died of direct war violence have been civilians. Iraq Body Count conservatively estimates that at least 1,33,000 civilians have been killed in direct violence due to war between the invasion and early May 2014. In addition to the direct consequences of violence represented by these numbers, thousands more Iraqis, Afghans and Pakistanis are falling victim to the dangers of a battered infrastructure and poor health conditions arising from wars. In the case of Iraq, excess deaths indirectly resulting from the war add several times the 1,33,000 civilians killed directly by violence.
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