Tuesday, April 23, 2024

On Good Friday, Kerala bishops speak on anti-Christian attacks in Manipur, CAA, lives of minorities in current India

Mar Thomas Tharayil, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Changanassery (left) and Archbishop Thomas J Netto, head of the Thiruvananthapuram Latin Catholic Archdiocese (right).

Prominent bishops in Kerala highlighted attacks against the Christian community, citing incidents in Manipur and other parts of North India, attributing them to the “powers of darkness” in their Good Friday messages.

“Christians in Manipur and elsewhere in North India are facing brutal assault from the powers of darkness. There has been no effective intervention on the part of the authorities. It is high time we adopted a stand against the forces of evil. We should make use of the opportunity to express our opinion,” said Archbishop Thomas J Netto, head of the Thiruvananthapuram Latin Catholic Archdiocese.

He was delivering Good Friday message at the Cathedral Church in Thiruvananthapuram.

“All Christian churches should stand united to acquire the strength for survival. Standing united is essential to protect the rights of religious minorities enshrined in the Constitution,” he said.

He also spoke about the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, referring to the discriminatory act as an attempt to cultivate a narrow religion-based approach.

“If the weakest person in the country is living under fear, that should be seen as the failure of that entire nation,” said another Christian priest, Mar Thomas Tharayil, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Changanassery.

The messages critical of ruling regime and Hindu nationalism come at a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party is trying to win over Christian voters in Kerala with various outreach programmes ahead of upcoming 2024 General elcetions.

The United Christian Forum (UCF), a Delhi-based civil society organisation focused on Christian issues, has recently said that the first 2.5 months of 2024, ahead of the elections, have witnessed “a large-scale erosion of basic fundamental rights and protection of Indian Christians”. “January witnessed 70 incidents of violence against Christians followed by 62 incidents in 29 days of February and 29 incidents in 15 days of March, 2024,” the UCF has said. This comes to a total of 161 incidents in 2.5 months.

The Christian community in Kerala observed ‘Good Friday’ in accordance with traditional customs and beliefs by shunning all luxuries and physical comforts and attending special prayers in churches, PTI news agency reported.

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