GOVERNMENT TO RELEASE JUBILEE 2000 STAMP ON CHRISTMAS DAY:
NEW DELHI, DEC 21 (CWNews.com)
- A special postal stamp to mark the Jubilee
2000 will be released on Christmas Day by Indian Prime
Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in the presence of Archbishop
Alan Basil de Lastic of Delhi, president of the Catholic
Bishops Conference of India, India's government announced
More than 1,200 invitees including members of Parliament, senior government officials, and church
leaders will attend the
function on Christmas which is also the birthday of Prime
Minister Vajpayee, who heads the federal coalition government
led by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party.
"We welcome this initiative. It is the manifestation the secular character of the Indian
constitution and polity in which
all religions are treated equally," Archbishop Lastic said.
However, he said the Christian community would be happier
if the government declared the forthcoming year as the
"Year of Christ" as earlier suggested by Prime Minister Vajpayee.
The federal cabinet had approved Prime Minister Vajpayee's proposal last January to observe 2000 as
the Year of Christ.
However, the Hindu lobby in the government led by the
pro-Hindu BJP later scuttled the proposal saying that Christianity
is not "an Indian religion."