VHP, Catholics join Committee to foster communal amity

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Mangalore, Sep 19 (UNI) After the serial attack on churches in districts of Southern Karnataka, rightist Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Catholic organisations have come together to foster communal amity.

District incharge minister Krishna Palemar took the initiative bringing the groups together as a confidence building measure. The two communities had come to a decision to bury differences and respect each other's religions, the Minister said today.

Speaking at a joint press conference here last night, VHP leader M B Puranik and spokesperson of the Catholic unions and Rector of St. Aloysius College, Francis Serrao, said the two communities vowed to diffuse the situation and work for peaceful relations.

Mr. Puranik said that the formation of the committee comprising the leaders from both religions was only the first step in the direction and it needed to become broad based.

While complimenting the contributions made by Christian institutions in the field of education, he remarked that some incidents made Hindus unhappy.

The issue of religious conversion needed to be clarified as it was believed that both the major sects of Christians had a role in forcible conversion. "But whatever happened should be forgotten for forging a new understanding between the two communities," he said.

Fr. Serrao while asserting that the Catholics never encouraged religious conversions, clarified that New Life Centres were not related to the sect. Vandalising with sacred books and sacrosanct articles in churches had deeply pained the Christian community.

He felt that Protestants too be included in the coordination mechanism.

Representatives from evangelical group New Life, accused for promoting conversion, had not participated in the meeting.

UNI MA RS RKN1314

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