Christians have become veritable target: Sangma

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Shillong, Oct 14 (UNI) Former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A Sangma today said Christians had become ''veritable target'' for attacks in the country.

''Conversion is a matter of one's personal conviction which one exercises as a responsible citizen. It should be practiced on the foundation of secularism and freedom of religion as enshrined in the Constitution of India,'' Mr Sangma said, while inaugurating a national seminar ''Christianity: National Integration'' organised by Synod College.

Mr Sangma, also the NCP leader, added that in the multi-religious and multi-cultural nation, below 2.5 per cent of India's population was represented by the Christians.

''And this is even after 2000 years of Christianity in the country. Should this be a cause of worry for our antagonists?'' he said.

Mr Sangma said as a faith, Christianity had been under relentless provocations in the recent times, adding it was important to address the concerns on two dimensions-- as followers of Christ and citizens of India.

Despite documentary evidence of Christians being a minority religion in India, the former Lok Sabha Speaker said, '' The fear of conversion and ultimate consummation of Indian society is unfounded.'' Terming India a ''spiritual country'', Mr Sangma informed that Christianity came to India when St Thomas arrived in the coast of Kerala in 52 AD and by the third century, there were Christian settlement in the region.

He said, ''Historically, Christianity came to India well before it went to Europe.'' ''Christianity has shaped the nation with a foundation in the field of education, healthcare and social services. Many of the non-Christian people who lead India today have at some point been tutored in the Christian education institutions,'' he stated.

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