MUMBAI: The Christian community is up in arms after the Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu abruptly cancelled the Good Friday holiday on April 19.
"This is totally unjustifiable and unacceptable, it has offended the religious sentiments of the Christians and we strongly condemn it," said Harmony Foundation chief Abraham Mathai here on Wednesday.
He said Good Friday is known universally as the most sacred day for the Christian community after Christmas and even the Indian Government has declared it as a gazetted national holiday.
"Though the Christians are a micro minority in demographics, it is undeniable that their contribution to social-educational developments amounts to a lion's share.
"Instead of appreciating the community's selfless efforts, this unfair and unjust move has been imposed," Mathai told IANS.
He called upon the Centre and UT administration to immediately reverse the decision taken by the concerned authorities as the community has taken it very strongly.
Incidentally, the change was made in the official district administration notification in November 2018 when the Good Friday national public holiday was transferred from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 or Restricted Holiday category.
On national holidays, all banks, educational institutions, centre, state, local governments and quasi-government establishments are closed, while on restricted holidays these offices can remain open but employees are entitled to avail the off as per the rules.
The matter came to light when the community started preparations in the 11 odd churches in these Union Territories, for the April 19 holiday marking a day of prayers, penance, mourning and vigil when Jesus Christ was crucified.
Christian leaders, priests and activists of the 100,000-strong community in Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli have decided to write to the President and other dignitaries in the country drawing their attention to the matter and requesting them to have the Good Friday public holiday reinstated.
Incidentally, these UTs will go to the polls for two Lok Sabha seats in Phase III on April 23 along with 115 other constituencies.