Bishops to Promote New Peace Initiative for Northeast India

GUWAHATI, India, MARCH 27, 2002 ( Churches in northeast India hope to foster new peace and development initiatives with local groups to help end the decades-long insurgency in the region, SAR News reports.

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The decision was taken during the Northeastern Regional Assembly of Bishops, which concluded here March 13. A dozen bishops attended the three-day assembly, a sequel to the general meeting of the Indian bishops´ conference at Jalandhar.

Bishop John Thomas of Diphu, secretary of the assembly, said of the various churches: “We want to reach out to the people irrespective of their caste, creed, religion … to listen to their woes and sufferings. But there are challenges in our path.”

Refuting the allegations of Hindu fundamentalists that the churches were encouraging militancy in the region, Bishop Thomas pointed out that several Christian leaders and priests had fallen victim to the guns of militants in the past years.

He said the Catholic Church was ready to mediate to help the warring militant groups negotiate a pact with the government for the “sake of peace in the region.”

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