Bengaluru, Dec 23: The Archbishop of Bangalore, Dr Bernard Moras, has come out strongly against the announcement by the central government to observe ’Good Governance Day’ on December 25th.
The central government chose the day because it was the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, but the Archbishop told NDTV that the day has come to be observed as the birthday of Jesus Christ for over 2000 years and that it would hurt the sentiments of Christians.
"25th of December, is universally accepted as Christmas - the birth of Jesus Christ and the whole world celebrates the day as Christmas. Now, to announce in India, the 25th of December as good governance day, I personally feel it is not a good decision. It is hurting the sentiments of Christians definitely and not only of Christians, but also of others. I feel good governance is a necessity today everywhere but why fix it it on 25th?" said the Archbishop. "Christmas is coming down over the last 2000 years, not just 100 years."
The Archbishop also expressed concern over discussions of an anti-conversion bill. Dr Moras said he was against forced conversions but that if it was a free, individual choice then it should be respected.
"Definitely, forced conversion - nobody will accept it. Even me as a religious head would not accept it. But if someone so desires through a wish of his own, after thinking and re-thinking would like to change his religion to another, I think there is nothing wrong in this. But I do not approve of any forced conversion," said the Archbishop.
The Archbishop told NDTV that the Centre’s decision has caused insecurity in the minds of members of the minority community. He said that while he appreciated the work done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the disadvantaged, he should leave the minorities alone.
"While I appreciate all that he does for the appeasement of the poor and improve the standard of the country, I generally feel that he should not touch at any cost the minorities," he said referring to PM Modi.
The issue over religious conversions has paralysed the Rajya Sabha where the opposition has demanded PM Modi’s statement on whether the government supported such conversion programmes. On Tuesday, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the ruling NDA government does not support any particular religion.