Vijayawada: The heads of various churches, NGOs and para church organisations from the 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh came together for an emergency online meeting convened by Oliver Rayi, chairman, APCLF.

The meeting was convened in view of the unprecedented attacks on Christians, both by the politicians and by unscrupulous elements, taking advantage of the prevailing situation. The leaders unanimously condemned the burning down of the chariot at Antarvedi and welcomed the decision of the government to constitute a CBI inquiry into the incident.

The meeting also took to note the statements made by certain politicians who openly blamed Christians in the burning down of the chariot. They decried that such callous and immature remarks are an open invitation for enticing religious violence and raking communal hatred. The leaders owed to look at such statements closely and seek expert legal opinion to take appropriate action against those making them.

They lamented that the leaders of some political parties are solely pursuing a Hindutva agenda akin to what had happened previously in UP and expressed that such clamour for power will only result in negativity and regressive progress. The meeting noted the fact that despite scores of incidents of atrocities against Christians and Christian properties till date, none of these so-called politicians have ever openly condemned such incidents nor stood with Christians in their hour of distress. They expressed the opinion that all attacks of religious institutions must be dealt with the same yardstick.

The leaders also reminded the politicians and the public at large that, for whosoever is in power ,it was their mandated duty as per the Bible to pray for them and for the well-being of the people in the state and country.

The misconception of the present government being pro-Christian was also discussed by the leaders. They said that to date there was no instance of favouritism by the present government and in fact, long-pending burning issues like burial grounds and sites for churches, etc., still remain unsolved. The meeting reminded the vested interests that tax was being paid by all citizens and the misconception and misinterpretation by certain groups regarding temple funds needs to be addressed. They urged the government to release statements of accounts of temple funds so as to put to rest these unwarranted accusations.

The leaders strongly condemned the attempt to make Christians as scapegoats and said that such attempts will only expose their shallowness.

The online meeting was attended amongst others by Rev. Pratap Sinha, State Pastors Association president, Rev. Juhani Halonen, state president, AICC,
Rev. Noel Samuel, state president, IPC Churches, Rt. Rev. Govada Daivashirvadam, former moderator & Bishop, CSI Churches, Rev. D.S.V.S. Kumar, State secretary, Rev. Vincent Zachariah, state secretary Pastors Association of India and many others.

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