NMC: Illuminates Church, Illuminators in Punjab

Anushka Chaturvedi, director of the Punjab Centre for Women and Child Development, told The Times that a number of community organisations across the country have been lit up with bright coloured lights and it is hoped that they will also illuminate their respective churches.

Illuminating their churches would be a big step in eradicating gender-based violence in the country.

While some of the churches in the area have been under a lockdown since last year, the movement is taking off across Punjab.

The movement was started in 2015 by a young man who wanted to light up a church in his hometown of Nizamabad, about 25 km from Gujranwala.

“I was very worried when I realised that some of my relatives and friends were going to be inside, especially those of us who were close to the family,” said Jaspreet.

He decided to get in touch with the women in the community who were concerned about the safety of the community.

The women approached the woman, who was organising the lit-up process, and told her that the community had been asking her to lit up their church.

She said she had received many calls from women across the city, but no-one had bothered to come.

She also said that she was not interested in a church that would be open for the whole day.

When the community approached the church, it was initially against them.

However, after getting the community’s support, the church decided to go ahead with the lit light-up and invited people to join them.

The church’s pastor, Sajjad Khan, said he was in touch and was hopeful that it would light up the entire church and that people would also be invited to join.

“If it goes on as it has, we will have a community of over 2 lakh members and a church with a huge presence,” he said.

Chaturvedir said that the movement had taken off because people wanted to highlight the importance of the issue of gender-related violence.

“I am hoping that people in the church and in the city will join us and help light the church,” she said. 

According to Chaturvesi, there are more than 1,500 lit churches across Punjab, which can be lit up for two hours at a time.

As the movement spreads, there will be a number that have to be lit at regular intervals of time.

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