BCS Organizes Massive Protest Rally in Metro

News and Pics From Ancy Paladka
For Daijiworld Media Network—Mumbai (RD/CN)

Mumbai, Sep 22: A huge crowd gathered for the protest rally organized by the Bombay Catholic Sabha (BCS) on Friday September 19 to show solidarity to Christians being persecuted by Hindu fundamentalists especially in Orissa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Chattisgarh.

The crowd moved along the streets from Mahim railway station to Our Lady of Victories church, Mahim, at 6.00 pm on Friday evening. Metropolitan Bishops Percival Fernandes, Bosco Penha, and Agnelo Garcias, lead the protest march in the busy traffic which was brought to a standstill.


Dolphy D'Souza, president, BCS, in his keynote address said that the regular attacks on Christian priests, sisters, community and institutions, are a shame for democracy. He reminded the gathering of  the signature campaign which upon reaching the one lac mark would be submitted to the President of the country demanding that the community wished to live in peace and harmony.

F. Salvador Rodrigues, ecclesiastical advisor of BCS, said that Christians were Indians first and ought to be treated equally like the other citizens of the country. Prof Ram Puniyani commented that if minorities in our nation do not feel safe any longer, then it clearly indicates that democracy is not working.

Sami Bubere, president, World Peace Forum, India, condemned all riots, killings, and heinous acts against Christians and other minorities.  Bishop Penha expressed his joy in the faith and courage of the laity and the large turnout at both  the protest march and the meeting. He said that Christians have now started to learn to fight. He added that it was time to stand up and demand the fair treatment due to the community as citizens of the country.

Nozer Balsara, representing the Parsi community, said that a joint and concerted fight against communal hatred and violence was essential to ensure the victory of truth. Javed Anand, general secretary, Muslims for secular democracy, and co-editor of 'Communalism Combat', said that the Constitution of India was framed in November 1949 empowering everyone with equal rights. He questioned as to why then are minorities periodically required to give a test of their loyalty to the nation.

Kapil Patil, president, Lok Bharati and MLC condemned the atrocities in harsh words. Bishop Percy concluded that Christians account for less than 2.30 percent of the country's population, and more than 30 percent of homes for the lepers, sick, old, aged, and orphans in the country are run by Christians. No matter how many attacks are inflicted, we shall continue with our work for the poor of the nation he said.

Rita D'Sa, vice-president, BCS, welcomed the gathering and compered the programme. Canossa High School principal Sr Jessie and her team led the opening prayer. The meeting concluded with the national anthem.


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