NEW DELHI: Condemning violence against Christians and vandalism of churches in Orissa and elsewhere in the country, L.K. Advani, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, described the rape of a nun as “a shameful crime against humanity.”

Mr. Advani said this during a meeting with a delegation of Christian leaders here. The Christian leaders condemned the killing of Swami Lakshamananda Saraswathi and his four disciples in Kandhamal district in August.

A joint statement issued by Mr. Advani and the church leaders called for an end to religious conversions or re-conversions using coercive, fraudulent and allurement-based means, or through denigration of others’ faiths.

The Christian delegation comprised Archbishop of Delhi Vincent Concessao; Archbishop of Orissa Raphael Cheenath and spokesperson of the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese Dominic Emmanuel. Also present at the two-hour meeting were Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Sushma Swaraj and Sudheendra Kulkarni, journalist Chandan Mitra, and Sadhvi Bhagwati of Parmarth Niketan.

The initiative for the dialogue was taken by Swami Chidanand Saraswathi of Rishikesh-based Parmarth Niketan.

The meeting unanimously resolved that all efforts should be made to restore peace and a sense of security in strife-torn areas with the cooperation of the governments concerned and leaders of the Hindu and Christian communities. Justice must be done to the victims of violence expeditiously.

Swami Chidanand Saraswathi offered to rebuild one of the destroyed villages in Kandhamal in cooperation with the local church and the State government. Such confidence-building efforts should be replicated elsewhere in the country, he said.

Source: The Hindu
Date: Oct. 10, 2008

Evagelical Fellowship of India