Liju Cherian – March – April 2014
Indian Malankara Orthdox Church
AHMEDABAD, India – As the battle for Lok Sabha begins, HG Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios, Ahmedabad Diocese Metropolitan, has called upon the faithful to take an active part in the democratic process to elect their own government. Keeping the church as ‘apolitical,’ the members, as citizens of a great nation, should take part in large numbers to exercise their franchise.
In a Decree No 29/14 addressed to the clergy and laity from parishes in Ahmedabad Diocese, the Metropolitan notes that as citizens of India, we must prayerfully consider who is best able to lead the nation in these difficult times and pursue policies to reduce growing disparity among the people.
Dr Mar Yulios says the Constitution places crucial responsibility to vote for our choice of leaders, as to who should govern the country in the next five years. The Metropolitan points out that the National United Christian Forum (NUCP) consisting of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), in which the Indian Malankara Orthodox Church is a member, the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) and the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) have issued a joint statement calling upon all Christians in the country to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
His Grace further notes that “as Christians, we should look for parties and leaders who support our concern and practice ways and means for peaceful co-existence and progress of all sections of people, regardless of caste, creed and colour and root out corrupt forces and reflect a reiteration of all constitutional values, secular ideals and protect our faith, Christians ways and practices.
He further notes that Christians who form the second largest minority, have immensely contributed to the country’s educational and health services. However, the problems faced by the Christian community are countless. This, he says, includes Constitutional facilitation of Dalit Christians rights, erosion of minority rights guaranteed by the Constitution, displacement of tribals and protection of their identity, Freedom of Religious Laws which are anti-conversion laws.
The Metropolitan has also made an urgent need to strengthen anti-corruption laws. The pending issues of immediate concern relate to undertaking a study of the socio-economic conditions of Christians on the lines of Sachar Committee for Muslims in order to develop special schemes for the community, reservation of 33 per cent seats in Parliament for women, Passing of Prevention of Targeted Communal Violence Bill.
The Decree dated March 31, 2014 was issued during the Shepherd’s Lenten visit from St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church, Kota, Rajasthan.