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Civil Society Organizations in Nagaland Condemn the Decision, Citing Religious Sensitivities
Kohima, Nagaland – September 29, 2023 – The recent call by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, for a cleanliness drive on October 1st has stirred controversy and condemnation from prominent Civil Society Organizations in Nagaland. The Naga Students Federation, Nagaland Joint Christian Forum, and the Government of the People’s Republic of Nagalim have expressed strong objections to the decision, citing concerns related to the Christian faith and religious sensitivities.
At the heart of the controversy is the clash between the proposed cleanliness drive and the religious practices of the Christian community. Sunday holds special significance for Christians as a day of worship, reflection, and rest. In adherence to the Christian faith, Sundays are traditionally recognized as a day of spiritual devotion and relaxation, and working on this day is discouraged.
The three Civil Society Organizations acknowledge and appreciate New Delhi’s initiative to promote cleanliness and hygiene across the nation. However, they view the decision to conduct the cleanliness drive on Sunday as deeply insensitive to the religious sentiments of the Christian community. They argue that it directly challenges the mutual respect of all Christian faiths and undermines the principle of secularism.
In a joint statement, the organizations expressed their concerns, saying, “While we respect and appreciate New Delhi’s initiative to promote cleanliness, we find this gesture deeply insensitive to the religious sentiments of the Christian community. Sunday is a day of worship for Christians and not for work in the Christian faith. It is also traditionally recognized as the day of rest and worship.”
The statement further emphasized the organizations’ commitment to preserving the religious practices and faith of the Christian community, and it called upon the public to abstain from participating in the cleanliness drive as a symbol of their resentment against perceived attempts by the Government of India to disrupt Christian faith and practices in the country.
This condemnation highlights the ongoing challenge of balancing national initiatives, such as cleanliness drives, with the diverse cultural and religious practices found throughout India. The controversy serves as a reminder of the importance of respecting and accommodating the religious beliefs and sensitivities of all citizens when planning and executing such programs. The response of both the government and civil society to this issue will be closely monitored in the days leading up to the proposed cleanliness drive on October 1st.