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Posted at: Mar 9, 2016, 1:54 AM; last updated: Mar 9, 2016, 2:01 AM (IST)

Need cemeteries, not free pilgrimage: Christian leaders

Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, March 8

Christian leaders in the constituency, where the community’s vote bank is pegged at a 22 per cent translating into 1.5 lakh voters, lashed out at the SAD-BJP government’s project of “Mukh Mantri Tirath Yatra” terming it a ploy to appease the Christians ahead of the assembly elections.

A train carrying 1,000 pilgrims left for Chennai today even as prominent Christian leaders termed the yatra as an “electoral pilgrimage”.

Senior Christian leaders are not happy at the SAD’s decision to send pilgrims to see one of the oldest churches in Chennai.

Kanwal Bakshi, president, United Christian Front, claimed that instead of the train they needed cemeteries in villages, 2 per cent reservation in government jobs and heritage status for 60 churches in the state built during the British regime.

“For the past several decades we have been urging the successive governments to build cemeteries in villages. But nobody is listening. Instead of running the train, the government should first address our basic problems,” Bakshi said.

“There are around 60 churches in Punjab, constructed by the British, which are nearly 150 to 200 years old. They are in a dilapidated condition and nobody is bothered about their preservation. We want the government to declare these heritage property and do the needful to safeguard them for future generations,” stated another leader Waris Masih.

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