Maharashtra Government run by BJP gives subsidy to Christians for Jerusalem tour using public funds

The BJP Chief Minister has taken into consideration the Christian community's plea for a subsidy on their pilgrimage. Talks regarding this subsidy on the Holy land visit have been on for three years now. It was on March 23 that the CM affirmed to look into the matter, to make sure that Christians in Maharashtra benefit from the initiative.

Source: DNA (Daily News and Analysis. Reference link provided below)

Year: 2015

Representatives from National Christian Council, Bombay, Catholic Sabha and United Churches of Mumbai attended the meeting. They expect about a 50-70% subsidy on their pilgrimage. Once the subsidy is made available, Maharashtra will be the third state after Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to provide subsidy to the minorities in their respective states.
Gordon D'souza, president of Bombay Catholic Sabha said: "Every Christian wishes to visit Jerusalem, where Jesus was brought up, and Bethlehem, where he was born. This experience will surely lead to spiritual growth and visiting the Holy land is also an enriching experience."
Talking about how the subsidy would be a boon to the community, Marshall Jethsingh, national coordinator, Nation Christian Council said: "The pilgrimage is everybody's dream and the subsidy should make it possible for many to visit the place. It brings us great joy in knowing our plea has been taken into consideration, and hope at least 50,000 people in the state benefit from it."
Muslims have been enjoying the privilege for years as Hajj is one of the 6 tenets of Islam. In 2014, there were over 1,20,000 Hajjis who availed of the government quota.
Dr Jaykar Ellis, general secretary of National Christian Council said the group is hoping that the subsidy will be made available in a month's time. He added: "Visiting important places mentioned in the Bible will surely make a difference to people's understanding of the scriptures. It will also help devotees associate with stories that they have been reading since childhood."
Once this plea is sanctioned, the groups will start working towards helping pilgrims avail of the privilege at a national level.
List of places frequented by pilgrims:
Church of Nativity – which has a silver star affixed to the ground, believed to be the birth place of Christ.
Sea of Galilee – the rough waters of which was calmed by Jesus Christ.
Golgotha – place where Christ was crucified
The Garden Tomb – where Jesus resurrected


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