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Indian President Pratibha Patil, Vice Prez, Other Dignitaries 
attend Christmas celebration at Rashtrapati Bhavan

The President of India recieives a present at the Christmas function in New Delhi.

The official residence of the President of India witnessed moments of Christmas cheer. There was a Christmas tree and Carols

The Ashoka Hall in Rashtrapati Bhavan saw important dignitaries enjoying the Carols presented by troupes from the North East and Delhi itself.

In addtion to the President Pratibha Patil herself the Vice President Ahmed Ansari, the wife of Prime Minister Manhoman Singh Gursharan Kaur, Lok Sabha Speaker Meera Kumar and some cabinet Ministers were present.

The Programme featured carol singing by the Shillong Chamber Choir, Meghalaya; the Centenary Methodist Church, Delhi; Zowe Madrigal, Nagaland; St. Thomas Mar Thoma Syrian Church Choir, Delhi; Golden Jubilee Choir, Delhi; Mizo Minstrels Choir, Mizoram; Jesus and Mary College Choir, Delhi and Paranjoti Academy Chorus, Mumbai.

The Christmas Message was delivered by Archbishop of Delhi, Rev. Vincent Concessao.

Last year, the annual traditional programme was not held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in view of the terrorists’ attacks in Mumbai. The festivities were cancelled as a mark of respect for the victims of the attacks.

However, Rashtrapati Bhavan had sent grocery items such as Rice, Sugar, Dal and Ghee to orphanages in Delhi on behalf of the President.

The Christmas celebrations, last year, were also toned down in the wake of violence against Christians in Orissa and Karnataka.

Churches that anticipated huge turnout of pilgrims apparently were discouraged as less people turned up.

In Orissa, although there were no reports of violence, it was a gloomy Christmas for many. Still thousands are said to be living as refugees with lack of food and shelter.

Few of these victims on Dec. 25 will be joining a carol-singing programme at India Gate organised by the Delhi Archdiocese.

"Christmas carols will be sung by the victims of Kandhamal riots who would like to let the world know that Jesus' birthday is a good occasion to be reconciled with all and to share his message of love," said a note from the Archdiocese.

[Courtesy Christian Today India]

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