Remove Religious Symbols, Christian Schools in Assam Get 15-Day Ultimatum

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The ultimatum issued by a Hindu group further stipulates that priests, nuns, and brothers associated with Christian schools must refrain from wearing cassocks and religious habits on school premises.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – A Hindu group in Assam has issued a 15-day ultimatum to Christian schools in the state demanding removal of all religious symbols and photographs of Jesus and Mary from the premises of their institutions.

The Kutumba Surakshya Parishad, spearheading this initiative, alleges that these symbols serve as tools for conversion activities by Christian missionaries within educational institutions.

Satya Ranjan Borah, president of the Kutumba Surakshya Parishad, voiced these concerns at a recent press conference in Guwahati, reports reaching here said on Sunday.

Borah emphasised the group’s stance against what they perceive as the conversion of schools into religious institutes, citing the prominent display of Christian symbols as evidence.

The ultimatum further stipulates that priests, nuns, and brothers associated with Christian schools must refrain from wearing cassocks and religious habits on school premises. Additionally, the group demands the removal of churches located within school complexes, adding to the list of stringent measures outlined in their ultimatum.

Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati has dismissed these allegations as baseless, expressing bewilderment at the motives behind such threats. However, he has affirmed that legal avenues will be explored to address these open threats to religious freedom.

Christian leaders have urged caution, advising clergy members to wear civil Indian attire on campuses as a precautionary measure. Moreover, plans are underway to approach Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, to address the escalating threats faced by the Christian community and missionary activities.

The rise in such incidents underscores growing concerns over religious freedom and interfaith harmony in Assam and the broader northeast India region. With Christians constituting 3.74 percent of Assam’s population, exceeding the national average, the need for safeguarding religious pluralism and coexistence becomes paramount.

Addressing the root causes of religious intolerance necessitates concerted efforts from all stakeholders to uphold the principles of tolerance, understanding, and respect for diverse faiths.

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