ASIA/INDIA - The Christians of India call on new government to strengthen the nation’s secular traditions of democracy and freedom

Monday, 17 May 2004

New Delhi (Fides Service) - Build a country which is free and democratic in which diversity becomes a richness: this is the spirit of a message sent to the new government of India by the National United Christian Forum, comprising Christians of different denominations. In a letter signed by the Forum President Catholic Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi with Rev. Dr. Ipe Joseph of the National Council of Churches in India and Rev. Richard Howell representing the Evangelical Fellowship of India, the Forum congratulates the new Prime Minister of the Indian federation and also thanks the outgoing government for its achievements in many areas.
In its letter, a copy of which was sent to Fides, the Forum urges the new government to remember its promises made to the poor and to minorities groups, and it tells the executive that “the new mandate by the people of India is to strengthen the secular traditions for which India is known the world ”.
The Christian Forum calls on all the political parties and the people of the nation to cooperate with the new government in a responsible manner and to ensure that they do not betray the trust the electorate has put in them and to uphold secular democratic values enshrined in the Constitution.
In the meantime all the political parties which form the coalition with Congress Party winner of the elections, are in favour of Sonia Gandhi as new Prime Minster of India. The new government is expected to be formed and installed in the next few days. Contrary to expectations, in the election Congress Party triumphed over the coalition led by the nationalist Hindu party Baratiya Janata Party in power for the past six years.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 17/05/2004 Lines: 26 Words: 283)