ASIA/INDIA - Tura diocese in north east India, an oasis of dialogue and harmony where the local Church helps Tribal subsistence farmers improve their life

Tuesday, 21 June 2005

Tura (Fides Service) - The small Catholic community in the diocese of Tura led by Bishop George Mamalessery in north east India is an oasis of social harmony and solidarity and inter-religious dialogue in an area troubled by protests against the central government and underground separatist movements.
The Bishop told Fides about the situation in Tura “Our people are mostly animist Tribal subsistence farmers. They are peaceful people, ready to dialogue and show solidarity to others. Many of them have embraced Christianity. A good percent are Catholics and with Christians of other denominations, we can say that today 70% of entire the population is Christian”.
Bishop Mamalessery said the local Catholic community has always worked hard to help the poorer people improve their living conditions and he added “All the local people, including non Christians, are very grateful for the Catholic Church’s activity the field of education and healthcare especially in the most impervious and remote areas” .
One of many initiatives for development promoted by the local Catholic Church with help from abroad is a project in the village of Thakimagre completed thanks to the ‘Padre Pio Missionary in the World’ programme. The compound consists of a primary school, a chapel named after Saint Pio and a dispensary. The centre was opened in 2003 and about 300 children attend the school.
Despite the presence of clandestine separatist movements in the area, Tura is a quiet and untouched by the episodes of violence perpetrated in many other parts of India by Hindu fanatics against religious minority groups. The Bishop says Tura diocese is an example of harmony and peaceful coexistence for the rest of the nation.
(PA) (Agenzia Fides 21/6/2005 righe 24 parole 247)