Christian delegation meet Chief Minister and share their concerns over rising attacks
A seven-member delegation comprising of Archbishop and Bishops from the Catholic Churches met with the newly sworn-in Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath sharing with him their fear of the rising incidents of violence against the minority Christian community in the biggest Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
The delegation included Archbishop Albert D’Souza of Agra, Bishop Gerald John Mathias of Catholic Diocese of Lucknow, Bishop Thomas T. of Gorakhpur, Bishop John Vadakel of Bijnor, Bishop Raphy Manjaly of Allahabad, Bishop Ignatius D’Souza of Bareilly and Bishop Eugene Joseph of Varanasi.
“We requested the chief minister to ensure the safety and security of our places of worship, and the freedom to worship without fear,” said Fr Gerald John Mathias, Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Lucknow, after the meeting reported hindustantimes.com.
Bishop Fr. Mathias told the media that the meeting lasted for 15 minutes and ‘certain issues related to schools and local administration were also taken up during the meeting’.
“Our meeting with the Chief Minister was a courtesy call. It was a cordial meeting. We offered our hearty congratulations and best wishes on his elevation to the position of the chief minister of UP, and assured him of our prayers for the success of his service as the CM of the biggest state of the country,” said Fr. Mathias.
But Father Mathias said that Chief Minister assured church leaders that there would be justice against law breakers. He asked them to continue their services to the poor and the needy in various fields, including education, and practice their faith without fear.
“The Chief Minister assured us of strict action against those who take law into their own hands.”
“The meeting assumes significance in the backdrop of a recent incident in which right-wing Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) activists brought a prayer service at a church in Dathauli area of Maharajganj district to a halt, alleging that the pastor was converting Hindus to Christianity,” according to reports.
The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) reports 18 incidents of violence and intimidation against Christians from January 2017 till 25 April 2017 in the state of Uttar Pradesh alone.
The latest reported by EFI and Global Christian News took place on Palm Sunday in which a pastor, Krishna Paul was beaten up by a local mob at village Jahanpur, Post Dullahpur, District Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh. Later on the mob handed him over to the police. The Pastor was released after local Christian leaders intervened in the situation.