Church: Jharkhand CM Must End Ideological Hatred, Else Quit

Published 18 September 2017  |  
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The Catholic Bishops Council of India (CBCI) on Sept. 13 has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop the spread of hatred by Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das. The development came a month after government passed anti-conversion bill on Aug. 12.

Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of CBCI said he wrote to Modi as he was troubled over the politics of hate displayed in Jharkhand, according to the Telegraph.

He said Das had begun "vitriolic attacks against the Christian community" in Jharkhand since the time he came to power. Das' governance nowhere matches with what Modi promised in 2014—sab ka saath, sab ka vikas, Mascarenhas noted.

"If the chief minister is unable to control his ideological hatred, then it is time for him to go," said Mascarenhas.

In the previous week a dummy of Archbishop Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo was burned by Hindu Jagran Manch. Mascarenhas pointed to that in his letter and said this hatred being spread against Christians could soon "turn into physical violence".

On Independence Day this year Modi condemned violence in the name of faith.

Referring to Modi's speech, Mascarenhas said, "Mr Raghubar Das and his advisors at least in the past few months have not shown affiliation to the ideology you are proclaiming. I appeal to you, honourable Prime Minister, with trust and hope to intervene and curb the spread of hate created by the chief minister of Jharkhand. Jharkhandis and Jharkhand deserves better."

To fuel anti-Christian hate, the state government, last month, had published a full page advertisement in all the newspapers with a quote wrongly attributed to Mahatma Gandhi disapproving Christian missionaries for their act of conversion among tribals and Dalits, whom the government called "simple and mute as cows".

The ad directly targeted Christian religious institutions as though all Christians in the state and the country are illegitimate and involved in forceful conversions.

It is ironic that the Das government had come into power with votes from these simple creatures, the letter pointed.

The state passed new land acquisition amendment bill and anti-conversion bill on the same day. Mascarenhas also questioned the need for them "in record time, practically without discussion". These are alleged attempts to divide the tribal people along religious lines while seizing their land.

"One wonders if the hatred-filled advertisement and the Freedom of Religion Bill were smokescreens for the real act of the amendment to land acquisition Act. Is there something more than meets the eye, especially since the governor had earlier refused to sign amendments to the CNT and SPT Acts," said Mascarenhas.

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