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Nagaland churches, student body say no to Sunday cleanliness drive

Nagaland News

DIMAPUR, SEPTEMBER 26: Various bodies representing the church and student community of Nagaland have objected to the Union Government’s scheduling of a nationwide cleanliness drive on October 1, a Sunday.
In a letter to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, the Nagaland Joint Christian Forum requested the former to defer the event to September 30.
“Since Sunday is a day of worship for Christians, the church cannot allow her members to make that day a working day. Nevertheless, the church is aware that cleanliness is part of the civic duty and therefore, we will do so joyfully except on Sunday, which is a day of worship for Christians and not for work”, the letter stated.
The Forum requested Rio to disseminate information declaring Saturday as a day dedicated to nationwide cleanliness drive in Nagaland.
In a press statement, the Nagaland Baptist Church Council appreciated Prime Minister Narenda Modi for coming up with a nationwide cleanliness drive and a creative way to unite the country.
“However, since October 1 is Sunday, a day of worship for the Christians, the church in Nagaland will have to politely turn down the call. For Christians, Sunday is not just a holiday, it is not only ceasing from work but it is a day of worship”, it stated.
Accordingly, the NBCC has given directive to its constituent churches to observe the day either on Saturday or on Monday, it stated.
“As we do so, the NBCC would like to put on record that any good initiative must take the diverse religious communities into consideration. This will drive the animosity and hatred, insecurity and fear, threat and intimidation and unify the big nation”, it stated.
The NBCC added: “We are much aware that it is our civic duty and we will cooperate. However, since this time the fixation falls on our worship day, the Christians in Nagaland will choose to go to church on October 1 (Sunday). We will sacrifice another day at our convenience to show our cooperation and solidarity to the nation”.
Meanwhile, the Naga Students’ Federation stated that it vehemently condemns Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a nationwide cleanliness drive to be held on a Sunday.
“This call for a nationwide event on a Sunday is deeply insensitive to the religious sentiments of the Christian community and outrightly (sic) detrimental to the very essence of secularism. The Federation acknowledges and appreciates the Government of India’s initiatives for the betterment of society, including cleanliness drives.
“The NSF firmly believes in the importance of unity and mutual respect among citizens of all faiths, maintaining the fabric of secularism in the Indian sub-continent. We acknowledge cleanliness as an ideal that everyone should advocate, regardless of one’s religious beliefs. However, the Federation express our dismay over what we perceive as a communal attitude of the Centre, which appears to target Christian faith and other minority communities intentionally”, it stated.
It called upon all church associations and local churches across the Naga homeland to boycott the proposed social work.
“They are also urged to instruct their members to abstain from participating in the drive as a sign of resentment against the repeated attempts by the Government of India to disrupt Christian faith and practices in the country.
Furthermore, NSF appeals to the frontal organizations and Christian leaders in general to stand together in defence of our Christian faith. We emphasise that adherence to religious beliefs should not be compromised, and calls for a resolution that respects the religious convictions of all citizens and fosters peace in the Indian sub-continent”, it stated.
(Page News Service)