State-level Christmas function triggers row : The Tribune India

State-level Christmas function triggers row

GURDASPUR: The state-level Christmas function, being organised by the state government in Amritsar on December 21, has triggered a controversy.



Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, December 19

The state-level Christmas function, being organised by the state government in Amritsar on December 21, has triggered a controversy. The dominant faction, which accounts for nearly 85 per cent of the community, claimed that the Amritsar administration had “erred” by asking a SAD loyalist and Roman Catholic Bishop, Dr Franco Mulakkal, to help it organise the event.

This is for the first time a Congress government in Punjab is organising a state-level function on Christmas.

Even Christian Congress leaders are questioning the wisdom of asking a political opponent of the ruling party to take charge. During the previous SAD-BJP regime, Dr Franco used to organise such functions.

Amritsar Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kamaldeep Singh Sangha denied the charge, saying that it was a government function and had nothing to do with politics.

Insiders claim that the move has divided the community. “Dr Franco is a known Akali sympathiser. Secondly, he belongs to the minority catholic faction. The administration should have chosen a renowned figure from among the protestant community which is aligned to the ruling party. If decision is not reversed, protests are sure to erupt,” said a Christian leader.

Dr Franco, when contacted, denied the allegations and said: “Christmas is not celebrated by any political party. It is celebrated by Christians.”

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