ASIA/INDIA – Church insulted and defamed in a newspaper of Hindu fundamentalists

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Bhopal (Agenzia Fides) - "The Church is hell and nuns live a life of hell, abused and battered": are among the statements published yesterday by the newspaper "Charaiveti" (which in Hindi means "Go ahead") published in the city Bhopal, the capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The newspaper is published by the party, "Bharatiya Janata Party" (BJP), a Hindu fundamentalist party, supported by violent extremist groups such as the notorious paramilitary Hindu group "Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh" (RSS, "National Volunteer Corps"). The magazine is run by a committee led by Sumitra Mahajan, Member of Parliament and former Minister of the Union.
In a report titled "The life of the nuns in the hell of the Church," the author, R. L. Francis, insults the work of the Church and, in a completely false manner, describes the life of the nuns, stating that they are almost "slaves" and denigrates their works. As sources of Fides report, the article has stirred controversy in the community of Bhopal and the ecumenical association of lay Christians "Isai Maha Sangh" has filed a complaint for defamation to the police.
Christians call for an apology from the newspaper, the withdrawal of the article, compensation. The police has assured that it will look into the unfortunate matter.
Richard James, responsible for "Isai Maha Sangh" in Madhya Pradesh, told Fides: "The article is very unpleasant and offensive. It intends to incite inter-communal tension in the state. The institutions must stop this plan." On the reasons of this attack, James explains to Fides: "Behind these attacks there are extremist forces like the RSS that are creating strong tensions and problems to the Christian and Muslim minorities in Madhya Pradesh, especially in rural areas and villages. They are instrumental and ideological attacks that deny all the good that the Church carries out in Indian society, in the field of education and assistance to the poor and marginalized. With regards to the nuns, it is enough to admire the service of the Missionaries of Charity, the Sisters of Mother Teresa, to the lepers and orphans, to understand the truth." (PA) (Agenzia Fides 10/04/2013)