Defeat communal forces, elect ‘secular politicians’: Andhra Pradesh church body to Christians

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Hyderabad: Bishops and church heads in Andhra Pradesh have asked all Christians to vote for secular leaders in the upcoming May 7 elections in Seemandhra.

The Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches has issued a ‘Pastoral Letter’ urging voters to elect leaders who are secular, sincere and free from crime and corruption and communalism.

The letter would be read on Sunday, in all the churches in Seemandhra. The religious body, however, has not named any politicians.

Christians, though in minority, form an important part of voters in Andhra Pradesh.

“We need to elect leaders who are close to people and respond to their needs; who strive for social justice and equality of the marginalised groups like the tribals and Dalits especially Dalit Christians and protect the rights of the minorities; who are determined to advance an inclusive economy that supports the poor especially to (sic) the unorganized labourers and marginal farmers by ensuring their basic human rights to food, water, shelter, health, education and employment; who strive to ensure the safety and security of women and children and their essential rights to life and livelihood; who lay focus on youth for ensuring their holistic development with character building, critical education and life skills; who make every effort to curb corruption and bring about good governance with peoples’ plans and decentralized, transparent, accountable and responsible administration; and who endeavour to protect the environment with sustainable development and (to) safeguard the rights of Tribal and Local communities over land, water and forests,” the letter says.

“We are deeply concerned about the pressing needs of our Christian Community in State,” the letter goes on. “Our State records one of the highest numbers of atrocities committed on Christians and pastors. During the recent months these attacks have increased in some districts. Organized mob attacks are taking place on Christians during their worship.”

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