Vote for secular parties, church association tells Catholics

May 5th, 2009 - 6:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) Condemning the attack on Christians in Orissa last year, a civil society group within the Catholic Church here Tuesday asked its laity to vote for secular parties this general election.
“Secular parties mean the parties which condemned the attack against the Christians in Orissa and other parts of the country. We must choose parties not candidates with a proven secular record and a commitment to uplift the people,” Federation of Catholic Associations of Delhi leader John Dayal said in a press conference.

The federation gave a clear message to the Christian community to take an anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stand during the Lok Sabha polls. The election will be held in Delhi’s seven constituencies on May 7.

“Every Catholic must come out and vote and must persuade his or her neighbours to do the same (vote for a secular party),” the Catholic group said in a statement.

Jenis Francis, president of the association, said: “Over the past several weeks, specially trained activists have gone to most of our 82 parishes or church units to educate our masses. In each assembly segment in Delhi the Catholics have an average 3,000 votes.”

“But, we have sizable number of votes in the South Delhi constituency,” he said.

Orissa’s Kandhamal district witnessed widespread communal violence after the killings of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23 last year.

At least 38 people were killed in Orissa and thousands of Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs. About 3,000 people are still living in government-run relief camps in the district.

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