08/08/2018, 16.33
INDIA
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President Kovind in Kerala praises Christian community, source of 'immense pride'

by Nirmala Carvalho

The president, who attended the celebrations for the centenary of St Thomas College, praised the value of education provided by Christian schools. Meanwhile, anti-Christian discrimination and criticism by Hindu nationalists continue across the country.

Trivandrum (AsiaNews) – Kerala’s Christian community is a symbol of India's non-negotiable commitment to diversity and pluralism, said Indian President Ram Nath Kovind yesterday.

The Indian leader expressed his appreciation for the role Christian schools play in Indian education during the celebrations for the centenary of St Thomas College, Thrissur.

On this occasion, Kovind said the community's heritage and history was a matter of "immense pride" for the country.

The president added that "The Christian community in Kerala is one of the oldest not only in India but anywhere else in the world," noting that the real value of education lies in how we learn to help fellow human beings and not in degrees.

For Kovind, the greatest service to God is to help others, to heal them and to spread the light of knowledge and St Thomas College has been part of this noble culture.

In his address, he reminded those present that the college is the alma mater of two former chief minister of Kerala, E M S Namboodiripad and C Achutha Menon, as well as spiritual leader Swam Chinmayananda.

During a visit to Ethiopia last year, Mr Kovind praised Indian teachers working in that country, many of whom are Christians and from Kerala.

The president’s commendation comes at a time of tensions, in which Christian communities are often subject to discrimination, Christians are arrested for "forced conversions", and criticised by extremists Hindu nationalist groups.

Two months ago, a Hindu nationalist leader accused the Vatican of interfering in Indian politics through Catholic communities.

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