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Archbishop: Be religious head not politician

The letter written by Jesuit Priest the Archbishop of Delhi Anil Couto has surprised many. The content appears to be biased and part of a political conspiracy. Archbishop writes, “We are witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution and secular fabric of our nation”.

“It is our hallowed practice to pray for our country and our political leaders all the time but all the more when we approach the time of general elections.”

In the letter, the Archbishop has also appealed to the people to observe fast on every Friday so that peace, brotherhood and democracy prevail. From the language of the letter, it is clear that this is more like a diplomatic appeal to the people by a political leader rather than an appeal of a religious head.

No matter what explanations are being given by the Church and its religious leaders that the letter has nothing to do with Narendra Modi or the BJP, there are no buyers of this argument. The words of Padre are broad indication that the Christian Missionaries don’t want that the BJP should return to power in 2019. This does not augur well for someone occupying the position of Archbishop. It is shameful.

Tell your parameter

What is the parameter that leads somebody to draw this inference that the situation in the country is not turbulent? Maybe the Archbishop knows it better. You cannot ignore this fact that there is a government in the country which is working for “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” motto.

All welfare schemes, new projects, the decision taken at the administrative level benefit one and all and are not confined to any particular community or caste. But a motivated campaign is being run in the past four years that a situation is being created in the country where the minorities have no place to live. If you look at the statements made by some people you will realise the sinister design of these people. This is being done at national and international level. If you are removed from the ground realities it is possible that you become scary.

The letter of Archbishop Anil Couto is a part of this conspiracy when he talks of the turbulent situation, the threat to secular fabric and democratic values of the country.

There has been a constant attempt to give small or big incident of crime a communal and caste colour. This is dangerous for the country. The fact is that such incidents have been taking place in the past also. On the contrary, there had been more incidents of violence and crime in the country during the Congress rule. Everybody would like to see that the criminal incidents stop and it is the fundamental duty of the government to curb crime and violence. Modi Government is fully committed to check crime rates. It has also come to light that some incidents of violence and crime were misreported.

One such incident took place in January 2015 when a Church was vandalised in Vikaspuri area of West Delhi. It was interpreted as an assault on Christian community by the Hindus. After the investigation by the Police, it was found that the vandals were friends of a Sikh youth who committed the crime as a challenge from his friend. Police arrested the three accused who vandalised the Church. All three youths were in an inebriated condition when they committed the crime. It was Archbishop Couto who had praised the police for investigation and bringing the truth behind the attack on the Church. But this incident was painted as communal hate campaign of the Modi Government.

In another incident, in February 2015, a burglar broke open the window shield of the office of the Principal of a Covent school in Vasant Vihar and took away Rs 12,000 from the office. It was also interpreted as an act of intolerance against the Christian community. The incident was simply a case of theft.

Then Hindustan, now ‘Lynchistan’

Let us take one year of UPA Government; just a year before the Modi Government took over. In 2013, there were 15 incidents of lynching that year in which 18 people were killed. Then this country was Hindustan and now it is ‘Lynchistan’ because of a few incidents of lynching. What can one say on this ‘selective opinion’?

In April 2015, a 72-year-old nun was gang-raped. This crime was also hurled at the saffron brigade. When West Bengal Police investigated the case it was found that Bangladeshi migrants were involved in the crime. Some arrests were also made in this connection. These instances are given not to show or prove that so many incidents had taken place in the previous government’s regime and several incidents have occurred in incumbent government’s rule. It is just to prove the point that such incidents have been taking place irrespective of which government was or is in power at the centre. It is wrong to look at the incidents through a prism or tinted glass. Instead, our endeavour should be how to eliminate this kind of crime from the society. What solutions we have to curb crime against humanity.

Such elements who find everything wrong in this government are unaware that by opposing the government on party line they are allowing anti-national elements to damage and harm our society and the nation. They are a real threat to the secular and democratic fabric of the country. If people motivated by vested political interests continue to make statements like ‘My wife wants to leave the country because of the tense atmosphere’ or ‘there is a turbulent atmosphere in the country’, the nation is bound to suffer.

A government will be formed and replaced by the other but the country stays as a united force. People who make statements to break the country into pieces may die someday but the nation will survive. It will never be divided.

R K Sinha

(The writer is a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha)

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