Religious leaders call for end to violence against minorities

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New Delhi, Sep 25 (UNI) Leaders of all religious affiliations today called for an end to violence against minorities in various parts of the country over the last month.

Terming as ''deplorable and condemnable'' acts of violence against placers of worship of any religion, Prayag Peeth Shankracharya Omkarnandji Maharaj, Maulana Nomani of Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind, Granthi Jagtap Singh Jagiana of SGPC-Delhi and other Christian leaders urged for a stop to the continuing violence against minorities in Orissa, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi since August 24.

Addressing a press conference here, the general secretary of the All India Christian Council John Dayal said the community was organising a seven-day sit in dharna at Jantar Mantar from tomorrow, to culminate on October 2 at Raj Ghat ''to highlight the plight of the beleaguered community''.

The dharna will be inaugurated tomorrow morning by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda.

''Violence in fact has spilled out of Orissa in a planned conspiracy to engulf other states. So far, five states have been affected including Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Even in Delhi, a church has been demolished in Peeragadi last week,'' Mr Dyal said.

Speaking on the occasion, Christian leaders criticised the statement by Senior BJP leaders and former deputy prime minister L K Advani calling for a national debate on conversions.

''We deeply regret that at a time when one of India's smallest communities is under threat of its very existence, Mr Advani has chosen this moment to call for a national debate for conversions.

there indeed is a need for a national debate on how to keep India secular, on how to presence a cherished Democracy for which our forefathers fought so hard and how to nurture its delicate pluralism which has earned its reputation over the centuries,'' Mr Dayal said.

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