Help Goan Christians Go For Pilgrimage
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Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
Greetings to you from Christians across Goa. Christians across India including Goa are classified under Minority community. Christians from across India and Goa are a very pious community. The Christians of Goa especially, have also contributed to nation building in some way or the other. Every Christian has a wish to visit the Holy Land and Birth place of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Jerusalem or the St. Peter's Church at the Vatican in Rome once in their lifetime. A visit to these two sites is a visit of transformation and renewal in the faith and lives of Christians. More often than not Christians do not have the means to make this travel due to lack of funds for visas, flight tickets, accommodation and food to make this pilgrimage possible.
Considering that other minorities are eligible for subsidized travel for decades now, the Christian community in Goa should also enjoy the same benefit. We have been left out in the open for long and have never sought any Governments help or assistance nor complained about the neglect. We request your good self to also give a thought to extending this facility to Goans holding Portuguese or any foreign passport provided they have an OCI and are born in Goa. Ofcourse to avoid any abuse of such facility if offered by you after consideration of our plea, certain conditions will have to be imposed to facilitate those genuinely wanting to travel.
As a sincere community after much deliberation and thought a few requests have been put forth. The requests are felt will reduce the monetary burden on persons wishing to go on a pilgrimage, enable ease of travel and at the same time are realistic. These requests have also been made keeping in mind that not all have access to computers, are computer literate and have access to debit and credit cards. This petition is an all inclusive petition keeping in mind the diversity of the Christian community in Goa. As the Prime Minister of India we rest our faith in your hands and trust that you will consider our request. We the Christian community are open to any further achievable and non cumbersome conditions you may want to impose as long as it doesn't involve too much of red tapism.
Following are our requests:
1. The facility should be available only to Goans, with Goan ancestry and born in Goa.
2. To make sure that those applying for this facility meet the condition above, they should produce a Baptism Certificate issued by their local Church along with a letter from the Parish Priest, stating the name of the person wishing to go on the pilgrimage and the date of travel. This letter should be on the letterhead of the Church with their seal.
3. The Government of India is requested to allow cash and cheque payments for all travel arrangements, as all persons of the community do not have access to Debit and Credit cards.
4. No person should be allowed to travel to both places in one financial year.
5. The place of departure for applicable subsidy should be from Goa and return journey to Goa.
6. The Government of India is requested to subsidize the Air Fare on the airline of its choice.
7. The Government of India is requested to assist in expediting procedures for the travelling persons if possible, in obtaining visas for travel through it's existing bilateral ties with the respective countries.
8. The Government of India is requested to look into the possibility of subsidizing the accomodation of the person travelling.
9. The Government of India is requested to consider extending this assistance to Goans born in Goa and with Goan ancestry, but holding foreign passports and OCI. These persons if considered, should be given the option for subsidized travel directly from their existing location or from Goa, on the airline of the Governments choice, provided conditions are met.
10. The Government of India is requested to keep the option of anytime travel for the person concerned during the financial year.
11. The Government of India is requested to allow written application as well, as many persons of the community don't have access to the online option or are computer literate.
This petition is a request by the Goan Christian Community for your careful consideration and approval. Mr. Prime Minister, the Christian community of Goa will be ever so grateful if you would assist us. We believe that your very secular ideology of " Sab Ka Saath, Sabka Vikas" will find favour in our request.
Christian Citizen of Goa
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