Christian forum calls off protests, appreciates CM’s intervention

Good Friday Procession

MUMBAI (Joseph Dias) — The government has in principle agreed to grant permission for Good Friday worship to be held at August Kranti Maidan, which was earlier withheld by Mr. AB Kulkarni, the Maharashtra Cultural Affairs Secretary, the competent authority. The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) had taken strong exception to this, especially since the service has been attended by thousands for the last over 55 years with no interruption. The CSF general secretary, Joseph Dias, along with other community NGOs had taken up the issue with various ministers and city parliamentarians (Mr. Milind Deora, Mr. Eknath Gaikwad..) and others. Today, he along with the priests of Saint Stephen’s Church, Fr. Ernest Fernandes, Fr. Avin Franklin and activists, met the chief secretary, Mr. Ratnakar Gaikwad and Cultural Affairs Secretary, Mr. AB Kulkarni to get the necessary official permissions.

Earlier, on memoranda presented by the Church and The CSF, the chief minister and the minorities affairs minister, Naseem Khan intervened to resolve the issue. Joseph Dias said that ” until last year, we had received permission and had been holding the services. In view of an amicable solution being evolved, The CSF has called off its protests, which were planned, as the denial of permission had hurt the religious sentiments of the community. This denial is a clear violation of our fundamental rights and an encroachment on the freedom of religion”, The CSF general secretary concluded. The Church and the activists are getting the formalities completed.
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One response to “Christian forum calls off protests, appreciates CM’s intervention

  1. dominic

    Christian Groups such as Association of Concerned Catholics,Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum, the Catholic Secular Forum along with the Parish Priests and Politicians and due to the efforts of the said MLA’s/Ministers namely Ms.Varsha Gaikwad,Mr.Gilbert Mendonca,Mr.R.R.Patil,Mr.Mangal Prabhat Lodha met various Secretaries including the Principal Secretary Government of Maharashtra in connection with granting permission for the Good Friday Services on April 6th 2012.

    Later certain persons from the delegation also met the Chief Minister of Maharashtra who has now permitted St.Stephens Church to hold its Good Friday Services at the August Kranti Maidan on 06th April 2012.

    St.Stephens Church has been holding the Good Friday Service at the said maidan for the last 55 years.Hence it was very surprising that they were denied permisssion this year.

    While granting permission the State has said that as an exceptional case permission was being granted.

    Mr.Agnelo Fernandes of the Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum stated that certain political parties were allowed to hold rallies as exceptional cases and that too in a silent zone then why were the Christians being denied this permission ?

    Mr.Gordon Jacobs President of the Association of Concerned Catholics stated that the granting of the permission would be greatly appreciated by the Catholic Community


    Report from Times if India
    Good Friday service at August Kranti Maidan – The Times of India

    Good Friday service at August Kranti Maidan

    Apr 3, 2012, 02.38AM IST

    MUMBAI: Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan ended the controversy over granting of permission for Good Friday services at the August Kranti Maidan after a meeting with Christian groups led by Fr Ernest Fernandes, parish priest of St Stephen’s Church, on Monday afternoon.

    Chavan said since the state has been granting permission for the religious service for 55 years, it made no sense to hold it back on the grounds of maintaining it as a purely sports facility this year.

    State cultural secretary Anand Kulkarni had refused permission as a “conscious decision to use the grounds only for sports purposes”. State minorities minister Naseem Khan overruled the decision and said it was a service attended by thousands of people. “It is a question of their sentiments,” he remarked.
    Chavan met the delegation led by Fr Fernandes and Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Mangal Prabhat Lodha. Also at the meeting were state minister Varsha Gaikwad, additional chief secretary Thanksy Thekkekara and Indian Christian Voice president Abraham Mathai.

    The meeting was called after parleys by Christian groups, the Catholic Secular Forum(CSF), the Association of Concerned Christians( ACC) the Mumbai Catholic Sabha and others over three days. These groups lobbied politicians,government officials and Church groups to fight the decision which was considered unfair.

    Catholic Secular Forum secretary Joe Dias along with Fr Fernandes and Fr Avin Franklin had met state chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad on Monday morning, while Association of Concerned Christians leader Joe Sodder met officials along with Bhayander legislator Gilbert Mendonsa.

    Victor Gollapalli of the Maharashtra Council of Churches had also voiced concern over the issue.

    Good Friday leads on to Easter Sunday, one of the most important festivals of the Church.

    Taken from

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