As it happened: Modi addresses Christian community

The Prime Minister was speaking at a function organised at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi to celebrate the elevation of two beatified members of the church to sainthood.

February 17, 2015 01:15 pm | Updated April 02, 2016 05:28 am IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo.

1:28 pm: India will remain secular: Modi

1:27 pm: Religion is a matter of personal choice. We will not allow anyone to spread hatred: Modi

1:26 pm: Religious tolerance should be in the DNA of all Indians: Modi

1:25 pm: Let the elevation of sainthood of Father Kuriakose and Mother Euphrasia inspire us: Modi

1:23 pm: I appeal to all religious groups to act with restraint, mutual respect: Modi

1:22 pm: Our government will not allow any religious group from the majority or minority to incite hatred covertly or overtly: Modi

1:22 pm: My government will ensure that there is complete freedom of faith: Modi

1:20 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks about increasing religious divisions, says it is great concern the world over.

1:17 pm: There is truth in every religion: Modi

1:16 pm: Mother India has given birth to many spiritual and religious saints. Tradition of welcoming & honouring them as old as India: PM

1:16 pm: PM says lives of Saints Kuriakose and Euphrasia are inspirations not only to the Christian community but to all of humanity.

1:15 pm: The whole country is proud of their elevation, says PM Modi.

1:10 pm: Referring to attacks at Delhi churches, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says "these incidents and people have no place in India."

1:00 pm: Despite anxiety among minorities we pledge our support to you (PM Modi) as citizens, says Faridabad Bishop.

12:45 pm: Our educational institutes are not run for conversion, Christian leader tells PM at event to celebrate sainthood of 2 Indians.

12:30 pm: Christian leaders appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make the community feel safe in their own country.

This will be the first time that Mr. Modi will come face-to-face with a sizeable Christian gathering after a spate of attacks and alleged vandalism at several churches in the city over the past two months. A similar function was held in West Delhi’s Hari Nagar earlier this month.

Large sections from several minority communities settled in the Capital are understood to have played a decisive role in the BJP's poll debacle in response to as many as five attacks on churches – the latest just days before Delhi went to polls – and the Delhi Police's attempts at “projecting these as routine break-ins aimed at petty theft”.

Mr. Modi’s participation at the function has raised eyebrows within certain sections of the community; coming as it does in the wake of the church attacks over which he has till date not spoken a word despite repeated appeals from within and outside the community. Some church leaders indicated that by inviting the Prime Minister, the organisers were providing him a platform to break his silence on the attacks on churches.

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