Unnion Minister of Minorities in India, Mr. John Barla highlighted the “immense contribution” of the Christian community to the progress of India. He was addressing a Peace Rally in Kolkata on January 20.
The Union Minister of Minorities praised the numerous contributions of the Christian community by setting up health centres, hospitals, old age homes, educational institutions.
Minister Barla strongly refuted allegations of conversion by Christian groups. “After so much contribution, there is no respect. Why are there allegations that we convert people? No, we don’t convert people,” he asked.
“There are Christian schools in big cities and the remotest areas of the country where there are no government institutions. Businessmen and politicians send their children to Christian schools,” he said. Several personalities from Mahatma Gandhi to film star Shah Rukh Khan have studied in Christian schools.
Mr. John Barla won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Alipurduar constituency in the state of West Bengal where most of the population are either Adivasi Christians, like him or Muslims.
“Christians are not against the government. Then why do we get beaten up? Why are Christians blamed for conversions?” he quipped.
Barla pointed out in his speech, “One reason is, Christians have failed to showcase their contributions to the nation; that is why we have not got respect from the government. It is not a political issue. Christians only want peace and development.”
The minister mentioned the recent attacks on Christians in the state of Chhattisgarh, in the name of alleged religious conversions. He said, “There, a BJP leader had been arrested for the violence but the party was not involved in it. The violence was between two groups of tribals.”
On January 17, during the National Executive meeting of the ruling party in India, BJP in New Delhi, Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi had urged his party members to reach out to the Muslim and Christian and other minority communities “without electoral considerations” with an object to build confidence among these communities. - by Atanu Das.
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