Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The Church in India "strongly condemns the Delhi police ," who yesterday attacked , beat and arrested 300 members of the local clergy , including Archbishop JT Anil Couto . This is the appeal launched through AsiaNews by Card. Oswald Gracias, President of the Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) and Archbishop of Mumbai. Bishop Couto, along with other bishops, priests and nuns , was participating in a peaceful march for the rights of Dalit Christians and Muslims, when the police unleashed an attack with batons and water cannons . Below, Card. Gracias statement released to AsiaNews:
The outrageous and appalling Delhi police lathi-charge and water cannon on our people including Christian bishops, nuns, pastors and others who were leading a peaceful march of Dalit Christians and Muslims at Parliament street demanding schedule caste rights for Dalit Christians and Muslims" is highly condemnable.
As CBCI President, I appeal to the Hon. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh for immediate implementation of Misra Commission Report and end six decades of discrimination against Christian dalits. I appeal to the Hon. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to investigate into this brutal assault on our people.
Secondly, the shameful assault on by male policemen our women including women religious who were assaulted and beating Catholic sisters and other women with lathis, who were even manhandled by the male police. This is disgraceful and deplorable behaviour, and reflective of the lack dignity and lack of respect given to our women in this country. Our women religious are a consecrated to God and hence a double disgrace. For our women- the daughters and mothers of India, to be manhandled and assaulted by male police is a shameful blot and assault on the status, rights and dignity of women in India.
However, as shepherd of the Church in India, we pray for peace and justice, in this holy season in preparation for the birth of babe Jesus, we forgive those who ordered the assault and on those who carried out the brutality.
May the Light of Christ enlighten the minds and hearts of those who ordered the assault and those who carried out the attack, enlighten them with respect for people, respect for women in India
May Jesus, who came to establish His Kingdom of Justice and Truth, bring healing to our people who were assaulted, wounded in the police brutality, our Christians including bishops, nuns, pastors, were selflessly asking to undo the injustice done to out Dalit Christians, 20 million Indian Dalit Christians whose right remain suppressed.
May Jesus, the Prince of Peace, Bless Our Country !!!