ASIA/INDIA - Cardinal Gracias to Prime Minister Modi: "Attacks on minorities damage India"

Wednesday, 21 March 2018 human rights   violence   hinduism   religious minorities   religious freedom   politics   local churches  


New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - There is a growing concern in the Catholic Church in India and other minority religious communities due to "sporadic attacks on institutions and personnel of religious minorities in different parts of the country. These acts of violence are against the law and damage the Country". If the government stops them, "this can alleviate community fears", discouraging further violence. This is what the newly elected president of the Indian Bishops' Conference (CBCI), Cardinal Oswald Gracias, said during his meeting yesterday, March 20, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, head of the federal executive, in his office in Parliament. As Agenzia Fides learns, the meeting between the Cardinal and the Prime Minister took place in a friendly and open atmosphere and was defined as "reassuring" by both of them.
The meeting was an occasion to remember "the Church's historic contribution to the nation's construction and its work for the well-being of the Indian population, especially in the fields of education, health care and solidarity", Cardinal Gracias recalled. The president of the CBCI stated that, aware of the great challenges that the country is facing, "the Church wants to be fully part of the great project of nation building", always orientated towards the common good of the country.
The Cardinal also discussed the possibility of a visit by Pope Francis to India: noting that "Pope Francis is" head of the universal Church, acclaimed worldwide and appreciated by people of all creeds", the Catholic leader declared that "his visit will bring long-term benefits to our country".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured the President of the Indian episcopate that "the first priority of the government is the well-being of people and the eradication of poverty". He then reiterated that he is "the Prime Minister of all Indians, regardless of caste and belief", stating that he will always be "available and eager to examine the issues brought to his attention". (PN-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 21/3/2018)