Indian Catholic Body Expresses Hope After Election

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) is confident that the Congress-led UPA government will keep the communal forces at bay and restore confidence among religious minorities.

After the landslide victory of the UPA government over communalism, the CBCI said it hopes the new government will "keep its promises of safeguarding the country from communal and divisive forces."

The Congress party and allies won 261 of the 543 seats in parliament. The Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party conceded defeat.

The Catholic body welcomed people's decision to vote for a secular and progressive government.

"The apex body of the Catholic Church in India is pleased to know that the Indian voters have made a right choice in placing their faith in the UPA to lead the country for the next five years."

However, concerned over the minorities in the country, CBCI urged the UPA government to "restore confidence among all sections of people particularly among the religious minorities for providing a stable, secular and democratic government."

Last August, Christians were violently attacked by Hindu extremists in the eastern state of Orissa after being blamed for the murder of a Hindu fundamentalist leader. Attacks continued as Indian state governments were criticized for their failure to control the violence by Hindu radical groups.

"The Christian community in India has always supported political parties who have stood for the rights of the poor and the marginalized," the Catholic body stated.

Ebenezer Samuel, president of Serve India Ministries, is grateful for the election results and believes it will "definitely benefit the growth of Christianity in the next five years," according to Mission Network News.

But he is also cautious and does not predict the persecution against Christians will come to a halt.

"Anything that happens can be blamed on the government, while they continue to perpetrate all kinds of cruelty against the minority," he told MNN.

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