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INDIA CHURCHES DEMAND PRESIDENT\'S RULE IN GUJARAT IMMEDIATELY

April 9, 2002

CATHOLIC BISHOP\'S CONFERENCE OF INDIA (CBCI)
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES IN INDIA (NCCI)
EVANGELICAL FELLOWSHIP OF INDIA (EFI)
Joint Press Statement

"Even though more than 800 lives have been lost and nearly a hundred thousand people made homeless, the violence in Gujarat shows no signs of abating. We make a strong demand for imposition of President\'s rule in the State immediately, as also demanded by others, so that peace and normalcy may return in Gujarat", said Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios, the President of the CBCI and Archbishop of Trivandrum, speaking on behalf of all the three Church bodies.

Expressing their great distress at the situation in Gujarat, the leaders continued, "Despite criticism of events in Gujarat from everywhere including international quarters, the situation does not seem to be improving there. The Church Bodies appeal to the Centre that it take stern action against the State government and those involved in the continual carnage".

The President of the NCCI, Bishop Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, has expressed his serious concern over the way members of the Muslim community are being treated. "The only way to save the current Indian democratic State is that every citizen of this nation come forward to defend other citizens who are under attack by hard core fundamentalists", he said.

The joint statement says that the brutal attacks on the Muslim Community in the various parts of Gujarat smack of a fascist ideology in action, which was involved in attacks earlier also on the Christian Community. While making serious demands on the government, the Church leaders have also appealed to their own people to intensify prayers for the people of Gujarat, be they victims or perpetrators of violence.

Issued by

Rev. Dr. Dominic Emmanuel, SVD
On Behalf of Church Bodies
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