ASIA/INDIA - Christians pray for peaceful elections and the good of the nation
New Delhi - In view of the next general elections which will start 11 April, India's Christians are praying that a peaceful and transparent vote may bring "well-being and harmony" for the future of the country. Involved as citizens, at least 5,000 Indian Christians, including bishops, clergy and Christian faithful of various confessions joined recently in the capital Delhi to pray for the nation .
Fides was informed that addressing those present Catholic archbishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto, who leads the archdiocese of Delhi, urged the faithful "to fast and pray for the good of the country ", and expressed the hope that the people "will choose leaders with great vision for the development of society and the nation and asked them to work for good of humanity". "We pray to God that peace and harmony may prevail in India", said the archbishop.
In recent weeks hundreds of intellectuals, journalists, artists and activists spoke in public urging citizens to "put aside the policy of hatred", promoted by the prime minister Mr Narendra Modi, running for a second five year mandate. Under his government, Christians and Muslims all over the country have experienced attacks of violence often organised by nationalist Hindus.
Expressing his concern Catholic lay leader John Dayal, and also human rights activist, told Fides: "In five years , this government has succeeded in nullifying the progress achieved in India, regarding the struggle for freedom and human rights over the past 100 years. This has affected the principles of equality and above all brotherhood".
Some 900 million Indians are called to the polls to elect 543 members of the Federal Government in a process articulated in 7 stages, beginning on 11 April and closing on 19 May. Among its population of 1.3 billion India has 966 million Hindus, equal to 80%. Muslims constitute 15% and India's Christians comprise 2.3% .
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