CBCI condemns attempt to deny Christian priests entry in villages

Local media had reported last month that Gram Sabhas of more than 50 villages in Bastar and Jagdalpur districts have passed resolutions outlawing non-Hindu religions from villages in these districts.

India
Aug 14 2014, 12:35 PM
CBCI condemns attempt to deny Christian priests entry in villages
Ankit Anand, District Collector of Jabdalpur.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) in its Independence Day message to the nation took strong exception to an unprecedented move in Chhattisgarh where 50 villages passed a resolution in Gram Sabha, denying entry to Christian priests in the villages.

“The move was fortunately foiled by the timely intervention of the District Administration,” said the CBCI statement, ‘Appeal for Peace’, released on August 12.

It urged the Central Government and the State Governments to “keep constant vigil over such sinister moves designed to weaken the very character and nature of our secular and democratic Constitution.”

Local media had reported last month that Gram Sabhas of more than 50 villages in Bastar and Jagdalpur districts have passed resolutions outlawing non-Hindu religions from villages in these districts.

The district collector Ankit Anand called a meeting of various Christian leaders on July 23 on the issue of resolutions. He later said that only three gram panchayats passed the controversial resolutions. Anand reportedly told Christians that while he cannot challenge the resolutions, he is initiating peace committees in which Christians will be included to resolve the issue in an amicable manner. He had told the media, "Any resolution by village council banning people from any particular religion or community from the village is legally null and void."

The CBCI statement also expressed deep concern and anxiety over “certain statements made by responsible and highly placed persons in the Judiciary favouring particular religion and its sacred books to be included in the school curriculum. The Bishops’ Committee is equally apprehensive of certain moves on the part of the Government and the Judiciary to bring about the uniform civil code and to legalize euthanasia. Such moves without taking into account the views and concerns of all will eventually weaken the unity of our nation and lead to the erosion of moral values cherished by the Indian society.”

Concern was also expressed over sporadic events of violence against Christians in certain parts of India.

The CBCI message urged people to resolve to work steadfastly for the growth and development of all people, ensuring justice, peace and equality.

Source: CBCI