Christians in India have welcomed the restoration of Christmas holidays for schools controlled by the federal government, Ecumenical News International reported.
"This is a positive signal from a secular government to the minorities and will help promote respect for all religions," said Ipe Joseph, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in India, which groups 29 Orthodox and Protestant Churches.
On Thursday, Oct. 21, the government ordered that the long-standing December break be restored to enable Christians to celebrate Christmas.
The previous government, led by the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), had cancelled the holiday for these schools last year, ordering them to delay the winter break until early January. It said the reason for the change of dates was excessive weather conditions - the first week of January being the coldest in India's northern states.
The move had evoked widespread protests from Christian and other groups.