02/28/2020, 13.50
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Archbishop Couto: Against the revolt in Delhi, prayers and help among religions

Leaders of all religions prayed for peace at the end of the Ash Wednesday Mass.  A strong and spontaneous appeal for peace and solidarity between people.  The toll of religious violence has risen to 38 dead.  Lent, a time of "penitential love, sacrifices and mutual help".  The anti Modi Chief Minister will pay the costs for the injured and victims.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - "Let's love each other, especially in this time of Lent," to overcome religious violence resulting from protests over the new citizenship law appeals Msgr.  Anil JT Couto, Archbishop of Delhi. 

Today the toll of the clashes that have engulfed the north-east of the capital has risen to 38 dead.  The demonstrations, underlines the bishop to AsiaNews, risk ruining "this sacred period that precedes the resurrection of Christ, which is instead the time in which we demonstrate that we help each other, the time in which we make sacrifices and reflect on eternal life".

On February 26, Ash Wednesday, Msgr.  Couto took part in an interreligious prayer for peace together with spiritual leaders of various religions.  He said that at the end of the mass in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart "we met in a completely spontaneous way outside the church, where other people had already gathered, and we all prayed together".  With him were: the swami Parmanand;  Paramjit Singh Chandok, president of the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib (Sikh);  Acharya Lokesh Muni, Jain guru;  Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, chief imam of the All India Imam Organization.

Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Jain representatives renewed the appeal "for peace and non-violence" and to "follow the path of mutual love".  The prelate notes: “We do not know who caused the violence.  It has resulted in many injuries and deaths, including a police inspector. "  Then he stresses: "Peace must prevail, as well as unity and harmony.  We must emphasize the brotherhood that exists between us.  Religion must not divide society, but must unite us with one another. "

Following the four-day clashes, the police arrested 130 people, detained another 400 and filed complaints against 48. Yesterday, the first citizen Arvind Kejriwal announced that the Delhi government will pay the medical costs of all the injured, including those hospitalized in  private health facilities and will offer compensation to both relatives of the victims and those who have lost shops and other properties in the assaults on the neighborhoods in the north-east of the city, where the violence took place.

India, highlights Msgr.  Couto, "is the nation of unity in diversity.  We must learn to love and respect each other, as the values ​​of our Constitution also affirm ”.  For this reason, he adds, "at the end of the meeting we decided that all the Sikh churches and Gurdwara of the capital will remain open to provide assistance to the victims of the revolt, regardless of belief and any other factor."

In addition, on the hottest days of the violence, the Delhi gurdwara, a few meters from the cathedral, provided ambulances, first aid material and free meals and the Church also provided help.  This, explains the archbishop, "is the way we want to show that we will never stop showing our unity and solidarity to all people".

Lent, concludes the bishop, "is the time when we have the opportunity to do penance and sacrifice, reach out and console the suffering and show compassion to all people, regardless of individual belief.  It is the time to witness penitential love.  That's why we have to help each other in every possible way. "  (A.C.F.)

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