Catholics bishops in India have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, warning him of an apparently organized campaign against the Christian minority in an eastern state which is governed by Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. The letter carries a picture showing Hindu nationalists burning an effigy of a cardinal with a large wooden cross.
The letter by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India expressed concerns over “spiraling hatred” being spread by Chief Minister Raghubar Das of Jharkhand state, where alleged members of a Hindu nationalist group, Hindu the Jagran Manch (Hindu Revival Group), recently burned an effigy of Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, according to La Croix.
Signed by CBCI Secretary General Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, the letter said the state government sees the Catholic Church as its enemy because Christians are seeking to protect land rights of tribal, or aboriginal, people.
Tribals comprise more than one-fourth of the population of the state, which wants them to vacate their ancestral land for large mining projects.
The letter warns that if the ongoing hate campaign was “not controlled immediately,” a social calamity could erupt.
Bishop Mascarenhas described the attached photo as “frightening, disquieting and scary.”
“Perhaps those leading this ideological hatred targeting the Christian community do not know what they are doing, where they are leading the people to: on the road of hatred and division,” the letter read, according to Catholic News Service.
“We have a chief minister who is openly sowing seeds of hatred and destroying the social harmony. This is not acceptable,” the bishop was quoted as saying.
SOURCE: Anugrah Kumar