Indian Catholic News

Catholic Union seeks action against hate mongers

Since 2015, several people across India have fallen victim to incidents of mob lynching related to religious intolerance.

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India’s largest and oldest forum of lay Catholics, the All India Catholic Union (AICU), has urged president Ram Chandra Kovind and federal government to initiate action against “hate mongers” who continue to polarize society against religious minorities.

The Union in a statement denounced the “hate speeches that emanated from the recent” Hindu conclave in Goa and said such talks have further vitiated the already “surcharged atmosphere, and aggravated the communal polarization in the country.”

They were referring to a June 15-17 conclave of some 130 pro-Hindu organizations in Goa, where several speakers spoke in support of violence to establish a Hindu-alone nation. Hindu nun Sadhvi Saraswati, who addressed the conclave, sought death penalty for those slaughtering cows.

"The politics of the cow has targeted Muslims and other communities whose food habits and economy depended on the trade in bovines. Its ramifications have not been fully understood, and AICU fears they will irretrievably damage the economic health of the farmers and the poor," said the statement, issued after a special July 28 AICU gathering in Goa.

Since 2015, several people across India have fallen victim to incidents of mob lynching related to religious intolerance. In the first six months of 2017, media reported 20 cases of violence related to cow protection, much more than any time in the past decade. At least 28 people were killed in cow-related violence between 2010 and 2017, of which 97 percent were Muslims, according to media reports.

The Union’s special gathering was convened in connection with its centenary in 2019, which is also the year of next general elections. It aimed to discuss the existing social situation in the nation and register Church’s response, said its spokesperson John Dayal.

The Union also expressed its alarm over the attempts by the Central and State governments to “saffronise” education in the country by changes to curricula, text books and teaching. If left unchecked, the move will make coming generations "unfit for scientific reasoning" and “misfits in a modern world,” it warned.

While reviewing of the situation in Goa, the meeting expressed solidarity with the demand of the Catholic Association of Goa for the setting up of a Minority Commission in the state, where it said “bodies meant to safeguard constitutional rights were dysfunctional.”

“A major fear of the people is of moves to nationalize rivers of Goa to open them to the corporate sector as transport routes for coal. Any proposal to make a coal transport hub poses serious threat to the health of the rivers and its ecology,” the statement said.

The Union also backed the Catholic Community of Mumbai, the capital of neighboring Maharashtra, which has been fighting the desecration of crosses, and their arbitrary demolition despite authentic documentation of their antiquity.

It noticed that the people had often “voluntary shifted crosses if they felt it was in the national cause. It was in line with the Christian community giving up a church so that India’s rocket and space sciences could have their first base in Kerala,” said the statement.

It also noted the “mischief inherent in efforts by the Mumbai authorities in evolving development plans for the city without acknowledging the presence of churches and other Christian institutions. This makes them venerable to demolition in the future. The government must take remedial action immediately,” the Union said.


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