Warring Bodo tribals, Muslims come for Christmas meets

December 21, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

More than 400,000 people were rendered homeless in the clashes.

 Bodo tribal people Bongaigaon, December 20, 2012:Activists in Assam’s Bongaigaon diocese are organizing meetings during this Christmas season to build peace between Bodo tribal people and Muslims, who violently clashed killing some 90 people in recent months.

The Bongaigaon Gana Seva Society (BGSS), a diocesan-run non-government organization that works with Caritas, has organized a Christmas tea to bridge the gap between the Bodo community and Muslims in Assam.

In the first half of this year, violent conflicts between these groups have claimed 90 lives, and forced some 400,000 people flee from their homes. Devastating floods in July displaced a million people, adding to their misery.

“In the past few months, the Church and local government have helped people with food, mosquito nets and medical drugs, said BGSS director Fr David Napoleon.

“The central government has provided some housing. We in the diocese have helped almost 2,200 families. In general, life is back to normal. Children are going to school and people have gone back to work,” he said.

However, he said the sectarian animosity continues, especially “in refugee camps, where people from both communities” live. In order to reconcile the two groups, the BGSS has launched a number of initiatives.

“So far, we have held eight meetings and four peace missions to raise awareness among people about the issue,” Fr Napoleon added. “We visited all 42 schools in the area, and have talked to children about the importance of peace.”

On Dec. 23, the NGO plans to organize two Christmas meetings, one with Bodo leaders and one with Muslim leaders. Following the meeting, participants will be invited for tea to discuss together the situation of the two communities and the possibilities of living together peacefully, the priest said.

– religiousindia / crib

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