Indian Christians Urge Unity, Justice on Independence Day

NEW DELHI – The National Council of Churches in India greeted the country on its 63rd Independence Day, calling for unity and greater efforts in condemning "perpetuation of depravity and all manifestations of violence."

The ecumenical body, representing over 13 million Christians from the Orthodox and Protestant traditions, urged the country's citizens to "stand up to all attempts to divide and discriminate people based on caste, religious and ideological orientations, ethnicity, language, literacy, or region."

The NCCI said in a statement that more contributions must be made to the process of opinion building, especially in the framing of new legislations and expressing opinions on existing laws.

The church body urged fellow citizens to "join efforts of civil society organizations expressing solidarity through participation over issues of importance relating to Climate Justice, Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Arms Trade Treaty, policy on mining, rights of the sexually discriminated communities, and people living with AIDS."

It further appealed to the public to "commit both in word and deed to the ideals of justice for all, elimination of caste system, equitable distribution of wealth, equity in gender orientation and practice, and campaign for responsibility of the state to those at a disadvantage."

India celebrated its Independence Day on Sunday to commemorate its freedom from British rule and its birth as a republic nation.

On the occasion, the Global Council of Indian Christians said it prays India will "cultivate a culture of peace, tolerance and harmony."

The global body also expressed hope that justice would be brought to the persecuted in Kandhamal district – where over a hundred Christians were murdered and 50,000 people were displaced in 2008 in the worst anti-Christian violence in decades – and also that Dalit Christians would be rendered equal status.