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Indian Bishops critical of Govt survey of Christians

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) has expressed its "serious apprehension" about a Government survey that singles out Christian families and institutions in Gujarat state. 

The survey includes questions such as "How many people were converted in the village this year?" and seeks details about numbers of born and converted Christians, and the circumstances of the conversions.

CBCI president Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios said: "When there is periodic exercise of nationwide survey of citizens, which is most comprehensive, there seems hardly any credible reason to order another hurried survey on a particular section of the society." 

The BJP government of Gujarat has been persistently criticised by Christian groups for failing to failing to address virulent anti-Christian rhetoric and acts of violence by Hindu extremist groups.
The apprehension is compounded against the background of recent spurt in communal violence where members of some communities were targeted. Many Christians are unimpressed by what they believe are the Government's questionable motives.

Bishop Percival Fernandes, CBCI Secretary General said: "It is to be noted that a democratically elected Government has a bounden duty to protect and promote all sections of society."

Catholic Bishops Conference of India

Indian Bishops Wary of Gujarat Survey (Zenit)
India's Bishops Question Census of Christians in Troubled State (Catholic World News)
Christian Council terms Gujarat survey illegal (Hindustan Times)
Catholic Bishops Conference of India
Government of Gujarat

14 Mar 2003