Dimapur, March 28: The North East India Regional Bishops’ Council (NEIRBC) has called upon all voters in the Northeast to exercise their franchise and ensure a free, fair and clean Lok Sabha Election 2019.
“We want to insist that voting for money or material gain (selling one’s vote), proxy voting, exerting force, using fraud or wrongful inducement for voting for a particular candidate, etc., are acts contrary to Christian values and principles. We call upon our Parish Priests to impress on our people this important obligation which is our contribution to building up our country to where we want it to be,” it said.
In a pastoral letter of the Bishops of NE India to all “our faithful and people of good will”, the NEIRBC lamented that while India is a spiritual nation, yet God is slowly being pushed to the periphery.
“We are called to rise above the many dividing walls that divide us: especially religions, cultures, castes,” it said, while making it clear that the Catholic Church does not identify herself with or side with any political party.
Acknowledging the progress that India has made especially since Independence and is a fast growing economy, the NEIRBC at the same time said it cannot ignore some concerns: the growing gap between the rich and the poor. “Further, ethics is losing primacy and the guiding principle of society. Economics seems to be the driving force behind many decisions. Corruption at all levels becomes the order of the day.”
The NEIRBC also called upon leaders who will be elected to contribute to a Government that will work for an economy that seeks especially to help the poor and under privileged, protecting their dignity, working for their uplift and enabling them to play a role in nation building; promote probity in public life and thus seek to root out corruption at all levels; ensure a totally safe environment for all people, particularly women and children; safeguard the rights of tribals over land, water and forests; and take particular care of Dalits and ensure that they are not discriminated against, granting equal rights to all Dalits.
It also called upon the leaders to promote communal harmony and a spirit of national integration through inter-religious dialogue and understanding; and take steps to protect the environment, preserving the riches of nature for future generations.
(Page News Service)