Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Union of Catholic Asian News » Youth group to ensure Christmas joy for Orissa Christians

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    • By Lissy Maruthanakuzhy
    • A Hindu-Catholic youth group from Orissa is intent on ensuring a happy and safe Christmas for Christians in the troubled Kandhamal area this year.
    • Members of the handpicked group say they have new insights into the problems of their home state after a week-long conflict resolution course run by Salesians in Assam.
    • Himang Shu (standing) translates a talk by Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati (seated third from left)
    • This year things will be different, Hindu youth leader Himang Shu says.

      "During Christmas we will go to Christian houses and celebrate the feast together," he told UCA News.

      He and 23 other young Hindus and Christians from Kandhamal were picked by the Orissa government for the course at Don Bosco Youth Institute, Guwahati, in Assam. They belong to "Antaranga" (conscience), a youth forum formed after the violence erupted in their home region.

      Sister Lolia Annie, who works at the Salesian center in Assam, said Kishan Kumar, a senior government official in Kandhamal, had sent the youth group. She said the Kandhamal administration wanted the Church center's help to train youths in resolving conflict.

    • Shu, who is in charge of Antaranga's documentation and research department, said the forum has some 4,000 members spread over 120 youth clubs in Kandhamal.

      "We will train and send them to villages in mixed groups (Christians and Hindus) during Christmas," he said.

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