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24 October 2017

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02/12/2008 INDIA

Andhra Pradesh to provide financial aid to Christian pilgrims going to Holy Land

Opposition slams proposal. Catholic leaders are grateful but note there are more pressing issues to deal with like financial assistance to schools, which has not been given yet.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – The governor of Andhra Pradesh, Narayan Dutt Tiwari, announced yesterday on the opening day of the budget session that the state government will provide financial assistance to Christians who wish to go on pilgrimage to holy sites in Israel as it does for Muslims who go on Hajj. Christian and Muslim minorities will also profit from benefits extended as part of Kalyanamasthu or mass wedding ceremony that allow poor Hindus to get married thanks to state financial aid.

The state’s opposition parties object to the proposal arguing that as a Christian Tiwari is trying to get the support of minorities ahead of next year’s general and assembly elections.

In his own defence the governor said that few Indian Christians would travel to Israel anyway because it is a war zone.

Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party countered by saying that the state government refuses to fund pilgrims who want to go to the Hindu shrine in Mansarovar.

For Fr Anthoniraj Thumma, executive secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches, the proposal “meets an old Christian demand, but the bill on the state budget says nothing about public funding for our schools, which has been blocked for the past ten years.”

A petition in favour of such funds was officially made this year to the chief minister by a delegation of bishops and priests.






See also

13/06/2007 INDIA
Christians challenge ban on their faith in Tirumala
Legal actions are expected against the state ban on non-Hindu religions in a Tirumala and other areas in Andhra Pradesh. The measure violates constitutionally-guaranteed rights and will affect Christians’ freedom of movement and livelihoods. Father Thumma laments that since a Christian has become chief minister, Christians face more problems.

05/07/2006 INDIA
Andhra Pradesh: Sisters of Mother Teresa forgive, bishop slams BJP politics
The four nuns who were held up by an extremist mob for their alleged proselytising forgive their aggressors and do not press charges. The bishop of Hyderabad talks to AsiaNews about Hindu fundamentalists' plan against Christians in Andhra Pradesh.

09/09/2014 INDIA
Church to maintain unity between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Christians
The Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches (APFC), an umbrella organisations for Christians denominations in the two states, has been renamed the Federation of Telugu Churches (FTC). The new name, which reflects the fact that Andhra Pradesh and Telangana share the same language, is meant to prevent further divisions.

28/03/2007 INDIA
In Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh local politicians fight against conversions to Christianity
The rising number of conversions is worrying local authorities who accuse Christians of stealing from the poor and carrying out all sorts of vile acts. In Jharkhand there is a growing demand that Tribal converts be denied government benefits. In Andhra Pradesh campaigns of open intolerance are underway.

20/08/2008 INDIA
Indian bishops speak out against anti-Christian violence
Anti-Christian violence rises dramatically. In Orissa state no action is taken against the perpetrators of last Christmas’ violence; instead religious men and women are investigated for alleged conversions. In Kerala bishops call on the authorities to find the murderers of Father Thomas who was laid to rest today.


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