Around 2,000 members of the citys vibrant Roman Catholic Christian community gathered this morning to stage the 21st Annual Lenten Walking Pilgrimage,re-enacting the 15 Stations of Cross that depicted the final hours of Jesus. The annual walk in its 21st year began from Golibar Subway in Santa Cruz (E) and ended at Vakolas St Charles Convent,where the last three Stations were enacted. However,this election season,the community also used the occasion to speak out against the persecution of Christians,particularly in the BJP-ruled states,by the saffron brigade.
With the coming of the general elections,all political parties,especially the saffron brigade,are whipping up communal sentiments to their advantage, said Joseph Dias,founder-president of The Cross,a Catholic front.
According to Dias,seven to eight constituencies in the Kandhmal region in Orissa have been affected by such incitings of the saffron parties and complaints have been sent even to the Election Commission. Weve even asked for postponing elections in Kandhamal, he said.
The community also voiced complaints of BJP misrule in states like Karnataka and Gujarat. We have reports of communal provocations in various constituencies of Karnataka,including North Canara,Bangalore Central and various coastal districts like Mangalore and Udipi, Dias said.
The 15 Stations of the Cross enacted sequences such as Jesus being condemned to death,Jesus being given the cross,Jesus falling,Jesus meeting his mother and the daughters of Jerusalem and Veronica wiping his face. The pilgrims stopped at various spots along the way,near street crosses or chapels,and a troupe enacted the Stations.