Hindu peace gestures to Christians

 Hindu organisations in India have made gestures of reconciliation towards the minority Christian community, following a spate of attacks on church property by Hindu extremists. The Foundation of the Hanuman Mandir Hindu Temple in Indore, Central India, offered to reconstruct a church badly damaged by Hindu extremists. John Dayal, president of the ecumenical Christian Forum for human rights, said the attack was an attempt to provoke the entire community to join the "violence against Christians". On the night of the 11 May, the Protestant St Paul Church, was badly vandalised. The information office of the Catholic diocese of Indore and the Pentecostal Church of Vandana Nagar were also attacked. A priest in the State of Maharashtra, West India, has been awarded a peace prize by the Hindu foundation Bandhuta Prathisthan, a Hindu foundation in Pune, for his campaigning work to promote unity between Christians, Muslims and Hindus. Fr Francis De Britto, from the diocese of Vasai, had written many articles in newspapers and magazines, and produced many displays encouraging harmony and national integration. At the award ceremony, Fr De Britto said: "Today more than ever India is threatened by civil and caste disputes." He said that strong links between some politicians and fundamentalists were one of the major causes of social strife - often leading to often into attacks against religious minorities and the lower castes.

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