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» 06/28/2012
INDIA
Activist priest: Sangma is a disgrace to all of India
by Nirmala Carvalho
Interviewed by AsiaNews, Fr. Cedric Prakash, director of the Jesuit center "Prashant" for human rights, justice and peace comments on the nomination of the tribal Catholic politician and the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The declarations of Sangma that "absolve" the BJP for the pogrom in Kandhamal show all his opportunism.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - On July 19, India will go to the polls to elect the new president of the country. Among the names on the ballot, that of Purno Agitok Sangma stands out; he is a tribal Catholic and one-time hardliner in Congress, who a few days ago said: "Where is the evidence that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is responsible for the anti-Christian pogrom in Kandhamal? Let's not jump to conclusions... Let's not make such allegations." Words considered controversial by most of the Indian public opinion, both Christian and non, also because it is precisely the ultra-nationalist Hindu BJP party that is fully supporting his candidacy (see 06/26/2012, "Raghuvanshi: the BJP manipulates the Christian candidate for president"). AsiaNews spoke to Fr. Cedric Prakash, director of "Prashant", a Jesuit center in Ahmedabad (Gujarat) which deals with human rights, justice and peace. According to the priest, Sangma is a disgrace to Christian values, tribal identity and the Indian Constitution.

How do you respond to Sangma and his statements on the involvement of the BJP in the anti-Christian pogroms in Kandhamal?

This is the typical stand of an opportunist! If Sangma actually cares for the rights and the freedoms of every citizen of India, he would never do this! It will be a very sad day for the country and for the cherished values ​​of democracy, should he be elected to be the President of India. Sangma should carefully go through all the documented evidence on the Kandhamal violence to to realize that there was direct involvement by the Sangh Parivar in the carnage, with the active support of the BJP who were ruling Orissa with the BJD (Biju Janata Dal) at that time. The BJP has also been involved in attacks on Christians and other minorities in Karnataka, Gujarat and other states in the country.

Sangma is being fielded as the BJP presidential candidate. What's your opinion?

Well, this is another sad joke on the country! The BJP had really no one to put as their candidate. And with some of the allies actually supporting the candidate put up by the UPA (United Progressive Alliance, the ruling coalition)...two of their "allies" had already decided to put up Sangma...so the BJP has had literally no choice in the matter!...Putting up another candidate or not supporting Sangma...would really mean that they were just proving themselves to be an absolutely toothless opposition! Besides, in the future they could always say that they supported a "Christian" and a "tribal"...groups which they have consistently demonised and attacked all these years! And surely they will continue their attacks in the future, too.

The BJP has a Hindu nation agenda, and in BJP-ruled states the Sangh Parivar activists terrorize minorities. Will Sangma reconcile these two aspects?

As I said before, Sangma is an opportunist. He really does not care about the Hindutva agenda and what they do to the minorities of the country... in order to have two minutes of "fame"!

What is the status of Tribals in India? Give me your reflections on the Tribal-BJP equation.

The status of tribals all over the country leaves much to be desired in every possible way! Sangma, the self-seeking politician that he is, has hardly taken a stand on tribal issues... The BJP has consistently tried to destroy the tribal identity: by calling them "vanvasis" ("forest dwellers") instead of "adivasis" ("indigenous peoples"). Accepting them as adivasis, everybody knows, would defeat their grand (yet utopian) design of attempting to establish a Hindu nation State.

Does the 2014 general election have any bearing on the BJP support for Sangma?

Not at all! Sangma's utterances and the way he positions himself brings really no credit to him. He dishonors Christian values, the tribal identity and, above all, the Constitution of India.

 

 

 

 


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See also
06/27/2012 INDIA
The "curious" ascent of Sangma, a tribal Catholic backed by the Hindus
by CT Nilesh
06/02/2005 INDIA
Catholic priest arrested for pedophilia in a Hindu fundamentalist plot
by Nirmala Carvalho
06/26/2012 INDIA
Raghuvanshi: BJP manipulates Christian candidate for president
by Nirmala Carvalho
07/19/2012 INDIA
Vote begins to elect next president of India
01/31/2012 INDIA
Karnataka Hindu extremists attack a Jesuit Catholic College. Students and teachers beaten
by Nirmala Carvalho

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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