Christian Mission in India’s Chhattisgarh State Faces Opposition to Expansion
07/08/2020 India (International Christian Concern) – According to Asia News, Emmanuel Kerketta, Bishop of Jashpur, had planned to expand a local Christian mission in Chhattisgarh by constructing a new church building until he faced opposition from local religious radicals. The mission has about 200,00 members, mostly farmers and farm workers.
Father Sarat Kumar is the parish priest of St. Vincent Pallotti Church in Bhanria, located in Chhattisgarh. The mission has been expanding to serve the people’s pastoral needs better. Father Kumar said, “Archbishop Kerketta wants to split [the mission] and open a new mission.”
After Bishop Kerketta paid an informal visit to St. Vincent Pallotti Church in Bhanria, Father Kumar explained, “Bhanria is a tribal area, our people are simple, but they are strong in faith and very strong in their love for Jesus and Mother Mary. Most tribal people are farmers and farm workers; some are teachers and nurses.”
Father Kumar continued, “The Diocese of Jashpur has purchased the land to build a church for this new missionary station, but the people of from the dominant religion oppose the construction of the church. In spite of all the legal provisions in force, the dominant group got a court order that stopped everything.”
The land was bought in 2014 and completed all legal formalities. However, due to the mistrust and challenges of others, as well as court impediments, the process is now suspended.
“I spoke with local ministers. They told me they would do it, but the opposing forces are powerful,” Father Kumar told Asia News. “Once the building is completed, people will welcome it, but to get the work done, we require a lot of approvals.”
Until today, Father Kumar remains under quarantine. However, the Father Kumar said, “I’m looking forward to visiting people, families, and villages to personally seeing the situation in which they live and work.”
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