Indian Bishops Wary of Gujarat Survey

NEW DELHI, India, MARCH 12, 2003 ( The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India expressed its apprehension over a public survey that is singling out Christian families and institutions in the state of Gujarat.

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Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios, conference president, said in a press statement: “When there is periodic exercise of a nationwide survey of citizens, which is most comprehensive, there seems hardly any credible reason to order another hurried survey on a particular section of the society.”

Indian bishops said their fear is heightened by the recent rise in communal violence against members of some minority communities, including Christians.

Bishop Percival Fernandes, secretary-general of the episcopal conference, told the Misna missionary agency that it “is to be noted that a democratically elected government has a bounden duty to protect and promote all sections of society. It should not do anything that goes contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution of India, to which all citizens of this country have pledged their loyalty.”

The bishops’ conference has urged the central government and the state government of Gujarat to immediately call off the survey.

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