India: government discusses rights of Christian minority


 A report on Christians in India was discussed by an Indian parliamentary committee on Wednesday. Presented by Fr George Palackapilly, Executive Secretary of Education and Culture of the Indian Catholic Bishops Conference. on behalf of a group of Christian MPs, the study raised a number of issues including education, abortion and freedom of religious practice. Under the country's present constitution, minorities have the right to set up and run their own schools. However, Fr George said, there were moves in parliament to change this rule. The General Secretary of the Congress party, Oscar Fernandez proposed that a delegation of Christian MPs meet the Prime Minister to brief him of their concerns. The Christian MPs also expressed concern over the growing use of pre-natal diagnostic techniques to determine the sex of an unborn child. The growth of these technologies in India is resulting in a considerable sex imbalance in the population, as girl babies are aborted. The MPs called for the implementation of laws passed in 1994 to prevent the misuse of pre-natal tests. Finally the MPs protested at the arrest of Ursuline Sister Bridhi Ekka, in July in Ambikapur, on charges of converting Hindus to Christianity. The 58-year-old nun was released on bail after a High Court appeal.

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