Archbishop wants state to reverse ban on non-Hindus

July 9, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

non-hindu missionNew Delhi, July 09, 2014: Archbishop Anil J.T. Couto of Delhi has asked for government intervention to reverse a reported ban on non-Hindu missioners in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, saying the move has serious impact on the country.

The move allegedly orchestrated by Hindu fanatic groups has “serious impacts on the secular ethos of India and damages its international reputation,” the archbishop said.

The move violates constitutional rights of freedom of faith, and the freedom of movement, expression and association, he said in a statement.

According to media reports, some 50 village councils in Bastar have passed resolutions banning all “non-Hindu religious propaganda, prayers and speeches in the villages.”

Although the resolution has no legal validity, it is said to be done under a provision of Panchayati Raj Act.

Archbishop Couto called for an immediate reversal of the ban and intervention of the state government in the matter.

“Though it could be considered as just another ban on Christian missionaries at the behest of fundamentalist groups and bigoted political functionaries, who are now greatly encouraged, it is a grave assault on the fundamental rights of individuals and peoples’ groups,” the prelate’s statement said.

“It also has serious implications” for democratic functioning of administration and it encourages extremist religious organizations to indulge in hate campaigns against the Christian community and their faith, the archbishop said.

In the past, large-scale violence against the Christians followed such hate campaigns, he noted.

– press release

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