Responding to a petition by the state Catholic Bishops Conference, the High Court of Madhya Pradesh yesterday directed the state government to ensure the safety of Christians during a massive Hindu nationalist rally scheduled tomorrow through Saturday (Feb. 10-12) in Mandla.

Organizers of the Maa Narmada Samajik Kumbh (Mother Narmada Social Kumbh, with “kumbh” literally meaning, “pot”) on the banks of the Narmada River hope to draw 2 million pilgrims to the event. Christian leaders said that the Kumbh is the latest in a series of anti-Christian propaganda events that Hindu nationalist organizations have held in recent years.

“We are worried about our safety and security, as our attempt to get adequate protection from the state government received a very cool response,” said Bishop Gerald Almeida of Jabalpur.

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