CNI to focus on tribal Christians in Gujarat

April 10, 2013 by  
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The tribal-dominated areas in south Gujarat, including Dang, Tapi and Surat, have witnessed communal unrest against Christians in 1998.

Church of north IndiaGujarat, April 08, 2013: With increase in their number in Gujarat, Church of North India (CNI) would focus on the welfare and development of tribal Christians in the state.

“We want to give a whole new identity to the tribal region in south Gujarat. Now since our strength has increased with the merger of 210 churches in the region, we want to focus on the holistic development of the region and its people,” said Reverend Silvans S Christian, Bishop of Gujarat Diocese.

He was speaking during the Ekta Mahotsav at Pipalwada, a tribal village in Vyarataluka bordering the Dang district April 7.

Tens of thousands of Christian community members from across the state and neighboring Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh took part in the program.

The program was jointly organized by CNI’s Gujarat Diocese and the Friends Missionary Prayer Band (FMPB).

This was the first village in south Gujarat that had witnessed communal tension in 1996, two years before attacks on Christians in 1998.

It was a big day for the Protestant Christians in Gujarat. Around 210 churches constructed by the FMPB in south Gujarat since 2004, including Dediapada, Ahwa, Dang, Netrang, Uchhal, Dharampur, Vyara etc. were merged into CNI’s Gujarat Diocese in the presence of the community leaders.

The tribal-dominated areas in south Gujarat, including Dang, Tapi and Surat, have come a long way after the communal unrest against Christians in 1998.

More than two decades after the attacks, Christians are now feeling safe and secure with not a single incident of attack reported from the tribal-dominated areas.

“There is an air of change blowing in these areas after what they witnessed in 1998. Ours is a big platform and we are committed to give all sort of assistance to Christian community members in tribal areas,” the bishop said.

He said that they are also setting up youth development centers to empower youth, taking up health care activities and also developing animal husbandry.

Union minister of state for highway Tushar Chaudhary, who was chief guest at the function, said, “the missionaries of FMPB have really worked hard to protect the rights of the tribal Christians. It is due to their efforts that the Christians have got a new identity in these areas after the heinous attacks in 1998.”

– times of india

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