2010-11-23 15:38:25

Hindus welcome Christ the King procession

(November 23, 2010 ) The central Indian Madhya Pradesh State recently witnessed a rare instance of communal harmony, when a group of Hindus welcomed a procession on the Feast of Christ the King in Bhopal on Sunday.( Nov. 21) “This gesture from the Hindus left us spellbound,” said Fr. Francis Scaria, pastor of St. Theresa’s Church in Ashta, a parish under Bhopal archdiocese. The priest told ucanews on Monday that although the parish has been holding the procession for years, they never got such a welcome. Hindu men and women lined up on both sides of the 3-kilometer procession route and threw flower petals on some 600 Christians and vehicles carrying tableau depicting various events in Christ’s life. They also erected a small stage to welcome the procession. Hindus then garlanded the priests with shawls as a mark of respect in the local tradition.
“This was our humble attempt to show our great concern for the peace loving Christian community and our tribute to peace, harmony and brotherhood,” said Sesh Narayan Mukati, president of the Hindu festival committee that organized the welcome. Mukati expressed the hope their gesture would help foster communal harmony, especially when sectarian distrust is on the rise. Retired Jesuit Archbishop Pascal Topno of Bhopal, who was present, lauded the Hindus’ “great understanding and unity.”
Ashta, a town in Sehore district, has nearly 50,000 people, mostly Hindus. Madhya Pradesh has witnessed some 200 incidents of anti-Christian violence in the past several years.

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