ASIA/INDIA - The Bishops: "With silence, the government becomes an accomplice in the attacks on minorities"

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - "The new government of nationalist leader Narendra Modi is not openly against minorities, but we are sad and worried about what is happening in India: The government says and does nothing to stop the right wing religious groups who attack minorities. This makes the government an accomplice": says, in an interview with Agenzia Fides, Fr. Charles Irudayam, Executive Secretary of the "Justice, peace and development" Commission in the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, expressing the Indian Bishops’ point of view.
"In the state of Chattisgarh (Central India), the right wing religious majority groups have carried out further violence. The extremists have prevented the missionaries and Catholic clergy to enter certain parts of the territory and in some villages. That is why the Justice and Peace Commission sent a letter of formal complaint to the government", says the Indian priest. Fr. Charles recalled that recently the entire Indian civil society publicly expressed its discomfort, requesting the intervention of the civil authorities.
"The central government of Narendra Modi - explains Irudayam - has never condemned the violence. This silence means that, in its mind, it shares the approach and ideology of an India reserved for Hindus. But this idea goes against our Constitution, which outlines a democratic and pluralistic nation. It is the government's responsibility to respect and ensure respect for the Constitution".
"At this stage, after Modi’s first hundred days in office - continues the Secretary – the Indian Church and its Bishops are on alert and follow what happens very closely. Some Bishops have asked: how long will the government's complicity with those who carry out violence last? Some eminent jurists and Hindu intellectuals support this position, and ask the government for a clear pronouncement. If not, they explain, violence against religious minorities will increase".
The Executive Secretary concludes: "We know that Pope Francis accompanies us in our efforts for peace and justice. A non-violent struggle, raising his voice in public and to God through prayer. Ours is a commitment to social and religious harmony. The government is focusing on the development and city cleansing. What is needed is, first of all, a cleansing of the heart. We want a clean India, but above all from a clean heart, thanks to peace, justice and brotherhood". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 04/11/2014)