Christians on election duty in two districts of West Bengal have sought exemption from work on Good Friday, observed as a day of prayer and fasting. Nadia and Murshidabad districts of the eastern Indian state go to polls in the second phase scheduled to be held on April 23. Those on poll duty have to report a day before the polling. The districts fall under the Catholic diocese of Krishnagar. Some 30 Catholic teachers have appealed to the district magistrate and the district election officer, but are yet to receive a positive response from the officials, said Krishnagar Bishop Joseph Suren Gomes. If Christians are forced to be on poll duty on Good Friday, they will not be able to attend the services, he said. “Even on April 23, Holy Saturday, the Christians in the diocese have to attend services and they would not be able to do so if put on poll duty,” the Bishop added. Bangiya Christiya Pariseba (Bengal Christian services) chief Ashish Mukherjee said the BCP has also appealed to the Chief Election Commissioner S. Y. Quraishi to exempt Christians from poll duty on April 22. West Bengal with 84 million people is voting in Assembly polls in six phases, from April 18 to May 10. IE13852.1648
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