Kerala Christians held minority rights protection rally


Kottayam (Kerala, India), SVM News, August 14, 2007: The Christians of four districts in Kerala today took strong exception to the manner in which the Communist Party of India (Marxist) led Leftean Democratic Front government in the state was trying to ``usurp`` the minority rights. Tens of thousands of christians of Kottayam, Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha Districts participating in the minority rights protection rally and public meeting held at the historic Thirunakkara Maidan in Kottayam on Sunday, the 12th of August. They pledged to keep the rights of the minorities. Bishops of Kerala leading the minority rights protection rally Marthoma Metropolitan Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom inaugurated the minority rights protection meeting, emphasised the need for protecting the minority rights to save democracy. The Metropolitan appealed to the government to act ``consciously`` and with ``democratic feeling`` particularly at a time when the nation was celebrating its 60th anniversary of Independence to resolve the problem. Minority rights were not something acquired through struggle but a part of the democratic system. Protection for minorities had been constitutional right. It was the duty of the Christians to protect their rights to set up educational institutions. Being an Indian it was their fundamental right and as a Christian their minority rights, he said in his inagural address. Delivering the keynote address, Inter Church Council Chairman Archbishop Mar Joseph Powathil charged that the state government and the ruling parties were trying to ``impose`` their agenda in the self-financing education sector in the name of consensus. Sincere efforts were not made to resolve the issue. Running educational institutions was the fundamental right of the minority communities. In a democracy both individual's and society's rights should be protected. State Government`s move to ``annexe`` minority rights and ``interfere`` in the running of aided schools would not be tolerated, he asserted. Thomas Mar Athanasius, Chengannur Metropolitan of the Indian Orthodox Church presided over the function. Rights of Minorities not a free gift of government or political parties, but it is constitutional, he said. And it is an important duty of the governments to be vigilant against christian persecution. The life and properties of christians and other minorites are to be protected, he continued. Kottayam Archbishop Mar Mathew Moolakkattu, Changanacherry Arch Bishop Mar Joseph Perumthottam, Thiruvalla Archbishop Thomas Mar Coorilos, Vijayapuram Bishop Sebastine Thekkathecheril, Palai Bishop Jospeh Kallarangattu, Knanaya Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan Kuriakose Mar Sevarios, Church of South India Bishop Thomas Samuel, Bishop Peter Thuruthikonam and other leaders addressed the meeting.

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