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KCR turns Santa, promises Christian Bhavan in Hyderabad

At a grand Christmas celebration and dinner hosted by the State government at the L.B. Stadium here on Friday, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao announced that a Christian Bhavan will be set up in the city as the “pride of Telangana”. Clad in a Jodhpuri suit, Mr. Rao launched the celebration by cutting a cake and wishing everyone present a Merry Christmas. “Religion is a personal matter. But government should see people of all religions as one and understand their problems,” he said. He announced that a meeting of Christian elders would be convened within 15 to 20 days to address certain issues raised by them. Five years ago, Telangana society was in a disarray and faced several hurdles, but people achieved the Statehood by God’s grace, he said, adding, “Telangana is the only State in the country where Christmas is celebrated as the State festival. Ramzan, Dasara and Christmas are celebrated equally as a mark of communal harmony.” Mr. Rao pointed out that issues related to construction of churches had also been sorted. Budget for minorities While at the national level, a budget of ₹4,000 crore was allotted to the welfare of minorities, Telangana State provided a budget of ₹2,000 crore for the same, he asserted. Several welfare measures have been initiated, and education and capacity building were given priority by setting up of residential schools for minorities, he said. ‘Golden Telangana’ hope Expressing gratitude for blessings from the Bishops, he said the TRS regained power and would ensure that the State becomes “golden Telangana” with their blessings as 1 crore acres are irrigated when ongoing projects reach completion in one-and-a half years. Home Minister Mohammad Mahmood Ali said Christmas celebrations are being organised at 220 locations across the State and two lakh gift packs will be distributed among poor Christians. Several MLAs, MPs, Chief Secretary S.K. Joshi, Minority Welfare adviser A.K. Khan and senior officials attended the meeting presided over by retired IAS officer Raymond Peter.