Churches are initiating steps to broker peace and restore harmony in the northeast Indian state of Assam, which has been rocked by bloody clashes between local ethnic Bodo people and Muslim migrants - writes Anto Akkara..
"We have hosted leaders of both communities twice already. We are now preparing a larger meeting of both communities after Ramadan," Roman Catholic bishop Thomas Pulloppillil of Bongaigaon diocese that comprises the troubled region, told ENInews on 15 August 2012.
The clashses have left 78 dead and over 400,000 refugees.
Pulloppillil said the peace building measures were organised under the banner of the Inter Church Peace Mission in a follow up to a 3-4 August goodwill mission carried out by the ecumenical forum.
Three dozen leaders of Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran and other Protestant churches had to travel in tractors, motorbikes and even boats to reach relief camps sheltering displaced families in remote areas even as sporadic violence continued.
"Brokering peace is not an easy task in the present situation. But we are trying our best to restore harmony," Benzjlaigra Moshahary of the Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church (NELC) and a member of the Inter Church Peace Mission, told ENInews.
"On the positive side, even the government has taken note of the work we are doing among the people affected by the clashes," Moshahary said.
While Christian medical relief workers continue to reach out to refugees sheltered in government schools and other public structures, senior government officials have requested church workers to conduct trauma counselling for the victims.
[With acknowledgements to ENInews. ENInews, formerly Ecumenical News International, is jointly sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the Conference of European Churches.]