Archbishop of Delphi Pressures Government for End of Violence in Gujarat

Proposes Education for all Levels as the key

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NEW DELHI, India, May 15, 2002 ( Vincent M. Concessao of Delhi entreated all people of good will to help persuade the Government to cease the ongoing violence in Gujarat.

«The unending violence in Gujarat confirms it to be the result of a long-term indoctrination by communal forces. It may take a long time before prejudices and hostile attitudes insidiously fostered over the years can be removed,» said the archbishop on behalf of the United Christian Forum, reports Catholic news agency SAR of India.

More than 900 people, mostly Muslims, have died since a Muslim mob torched a train carrying Hindu devotees on February 27, killing 59. Another 100,000 Muslims are crammed in relief camps.

The continuing sporadic violence makes it look increasingly difficult for Hindus and Muslims to go back to living side-by-side — and nowhere more so than in Gujarat´s remote villages.

«Citizens who stand by the Indian Constitution and abide by the rule of law and are at the same time committed to human rights, secular democracy and a pluralistic society must work for unity in diversity by standing together against the fascist forces bent on destroying this country for their own vested interests,» said the Archbishop.

Addressing the Principals of Christian schools in Delhi on May 9, he said, «The first task before us is to make people aware of how insidiously the secular tradition of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakum and Sarvadharma Sadbhava is being systematically corroded. Value education at all levels needs to be given the top priority.»

«Without the basic human values of justice and equality, freedom and solidarity there can be no communal harmony, no peace. All our educational institutions therefore must take up this project as an essential part of education on an emergency basis.»

Concerned with the spread of such violence to other parts of the country, the archbishop posed a question for all citizens: «Hasn´t Nazism taught the world what horrific consequences it holds for people if the grand Gujarat experiment is not stopped? While all reports point a finger at the States complicity in the ethnic cleansing operation in Gujarat, the voice of defence can be heard only from the State and Central governments.»

In conclusion Archbishop Concessao said, «We must, however, not give up on anybody, including the governments. We firmly believe in Divine Providence. Through our prayers, we will continue to appeal to God that better sense may prevail among people and a lasting peace may return to Gujarat».

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