CSF Impact: CM intervenes for Good Friday services. Protests called off
Maharashtra, April 03, 2012: The Maharashtra government has agreed to grant permission for Good Friday worship to be held at August Kranti Maidan, which was earlier withheld by Mr. AB Kulkarni, the Maharashtra Cultural Affairs Secretary, the competent authority. The CSF had taken strong exception to this, especially since the service has been attended by thousands for the last over 55 years with no interruption. Further, The CSF had threatened to demonstrate against the decision and sent memorandums to the chief minister and the minority affairs minister. Other community groups, like the Maharashtra Council of Churches, Association of Concerned Catholics and Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum joined in with their support and expressed solidarity with the cause.
The CSF general secretary, Joseph Dias, along with community activists took up the issue with various ministers and city parliamentarians. Finally, the parish priests of Saint Stephen’s Church, Fr. Ernest Fernandes, Fr. Avin Franklin and activists, met the chief secretary, Mr. Ratnakar Gaikwad and Cultural Affairs Secretary, Mr. AB Kulkarni to get the necessary official permissions. Earlier, on memorandums presented, the chief minister and the minorities affairs minister, Naseem Khan intervened to resolve the issue.
In view of an amicable solution being evolved, The CSF has called off its protests, which were planned, as the denial of permission had hurt the religious sentiments of the community. The CSF and community groups have also come down heavily on a few Christian politicians, seeking to take credit by jumping on to the publicity bandwagon, once the issue was resolved, through their efforts.