Bishops march with candle to protest church attacks

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It is time government enforced "the rule of law and curb the belligerence of the outfits defiling peace," they said.

Bangaluru: 

More than 100 bishops in India took out a candle light march on Friday to express their concern over the increasing threat to peace in the wake of unchecked violence against Christians in the country.

Some 140 bishops from across the country attending the 27th Plenary Assembly of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) marched through the street of Bangalore chanting Hail Mary and carrying banners.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias and Cardinal Telespore Toppo led the march March for Peace and Harmony’ along with nuns and priests on Feb. 6. The march began from at the St John’s College of Nursing.

“Hardly a day has passed in recent months without reports of attacks on Christians, Churches and Christian institutions from across the nation,” the archbishops said in a statement during their Feb. 3–9 meeting in Bangalore

"Churches have been torched even in the national capital while reports of ‘Ghar Waspsi’ and blatant threats to hold mass reconversions are causing anxiety to the Christians scattered in the far corners of the nation," they said.

The bishops said they are "distressed over divisive steps from passing of resolutions to ban Christian practices at village level to an aborted national level bid to keep educational institutions open even on Christmas Day."

Such concerted efforts at different levels raise concerns of a planned program to undermine the Christian community as second class citizens in our motherland where the community has made immense contributions in the field of education, healthcare and social service even in the remote hinterlands, they said.

They expressed concern over police manhandling a peaceful gathering of even women, children, nuns and priests at the gate of the Sacred Heart Cathedral in the heart of New Delhi on February 5. Such acts raise "questions whether these constitutional guarantees are not applicable to the Christian community," the statement said.

The recurring assaults and vandalism against Christian targets in different parts of country and failure of the guardians of law to bring the culprits to book have only worsened the air of impunity, the prelates said.

Referring to government's inaction and silence the statement said: The silence of those responsible for upholding our Constitutional Rights and their failure to protect the community are indeed baffling."

It is time government enforced "the rule of law and curb the belligerence of the outfits defiling peace and communal harmony in the nation," they said.

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