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Christians approach High Court for protection

Pleas to central Indian state government received a very cool response

Christians approach High Court for protection
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan takes stock of the preparations for the Ma Narmada Samajik Kumbh in Mandla

Published: February 07, 2011 10:25 AM GMT

Updated: February 07, 2011 07:49 AM GMT

Christians in Madhya Pradesh have approached the High Court seeking protection to their life ahead of a Hindu religious fair in the central Indian state. “We are worried about our safety and security as our attempt to get adequate protection from the state government received a very cool response,” said Bishop Gerald Almeida of Jabalpur. The Hindu groups plan to host their religious festival Ma Narmada Samajik Kumbh (Social Fair of Mother Narmada) from February 10-12 in tribal-dominated district of Mandla in the state. Narmada is a major river that runs through the district. Although Christians do not oppose such festivals, media reports that the festival aims to “return” tribal Christians to Hinduism have created fear among the community. Some 2.5 million people from all over India are expected to attend the festival. Bishop Almeida said that the Church authorities had approached Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, state minority commission and other senior officials in this regard. “Now we have approached Madhya Pradesh High Court seeking direction to the government to protect us,” the prelate said. Bishop Almeida said he hopes the court would understand the plight of the Christians and pass an appropriate order. A senior police official C.V. Muni Raju said that the police were keeping a close watch on developments in the area. “No one will be allowed to take the law into their own hands and no one needs to be afraid of anything,” he said. Meanwhile, a fact finding team comprising Christian leaders visited the area and stated that local Christians fear an outbreak of violence. The team also visited the riverbanks where arrangements have been made for the event. Father Anand Muttungal, spokesperson of the Catholic Church in the state, said the Church will set up a special interreligious monitoring committee to keep a watch on developments. Related reports Christians Worried As Hindus Plan Religious Fair In Tribal AreaService At Major Hindu Festival Brings Church People Interreligious Insights IC13176.1640

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