28 August, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 02/02/2005
INDIA
Hindu fundamentalists prevent Catholic celebration on Anjediva Island
by Nirmala Carvalho
The Church of Our Lady of Springs is located on an island claimed by Hindus. The Indian Navy has bans a traditional boat pilgrimage by Goa and Karwar Christians.

Goa (AsiaNews) – "Security problems" and Hindu fundamentalism are preventing Catholics from Goa and Karwar from celebrating today's annual Feast of Our Lady of Springs (Nossa Senhora das Brotas).

The Navy Command is banning the ritual procession "for security reasons because warships are in the vicinity of the church".

Fr Peter Machado, judicial vicar of the diocese of Karwar where the Church is located, told AsiaNews that the Navy's explanation "is just a lame excuse". For all intents and purposes, "this year we have been denied the right to worship in a church which belongs to our ancestors," he said.

The ancient Church of Our Lady of Springs is situated on Anjediva Island off India's western coast, facing the city of Goa, a former Portuguese colony and important Catholic centre.

The church is owned by the government and administered by the Indian Navy which is building military installations all around it.

In July 2004, Rear Admiral S Sinha, Flag Office commanding Goa Area announced the removal of restrictions for the Feast.

Behind the alleged security considerations for the arrival of many faithful in a military zone lies the problem of religious fundamentalism.

Hindu activists are opposed to the Christian presence claiming the island for themselves. Some activists of the Hindu fundamentalist group Vishwa Hindu Parishad have threatened to interfere with Catholic celebrations on Anjediva claiming the right to worship there on the grounds that prior to the arrival of the colonisers there was a temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Arya Durga which was then moved to Ankola in Karnataka.

For Father Machado, the question is sensitive and could cause social tensions. "When a place of worship becomes an object of contention, the situation puts at risk the law and order of society".

"When the church and the surrounding property were appropriated by the government of India to build a Naval Base, the Catholic Church was assured that Christians could visit the Church on Feast Days. Today it does not allow it".

The Feast of Our Lady of Springs is celebrated on February 2. It usually involves a solemn mass for some 1,500 pilgrims. "Pilgrims travel by boats [. . .] decorated with flags of different colours [. . .]. The entire atmosphere is festive," Father Machado said..

John Dayal, president of the All India Catholic Union and member of the National Integration Council, asked Oscar Fernandes, Minister for the state of Goa, to ensure that both central and local governments agree to the celebrations on Anjediva Island.

In the meantime, Father Machado still hopes that despite today's restrictions Christians "will be granted permission for the Feast of St Francis of Assisi on 4th October".

In addition to the main church, the island is also home to smaller church dedicated to the Saint from Assisi and is a destination for pilgrimage.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
01/24/2005 INDIA
Peace and religion: a deeper understanding of one's faith helps inter-faith dialogue
by Nirmala Carvalho
09/15/2004 INDIA
Kerala's Our Lady of Ransom becomes a National Pilgrim Centre
by Nirmala Carvalho
12/18/2004 INDIA
Hindu fundamentalists stage 're-conversions'
08/26/2006 INDIA
No entrance to Tirupati temple town for non-Hindus
by Nirmala Carvalho
08/07/2006 INDIA
President of Indian bishops slams Chattisgarh anti-conversion law
by Nirmala Carvalho

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.