09/18/2008, 00.00
INDIA
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Archbishop of Delhi: Violence against Christians shows crisis of Indian democracy

by Nirmala Carvalho
Archbishop Vincent Concessao emphasizes that Hindu extremism does not only deny minority rights, but also co-existence and respect for human rights, bringing the constitutional pillars of the country into crisis. In Delhi, Hindu radicals occupy the garden of the Catholic church of Trilokpuri, because they want to build a temple there.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - The "violence and terror" underway in Orissa and in other states in India are not only a problem of "respect for the minorities", but also involve the future of "India's democracy". This is affirmed by the archbishop of the capital, Vincent Concessao, in an interview with AsiaNews. "India, the world’s largest democracy, was recognised as a vibrant multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-lingual democracy. Sadly, today the image of ‘democratic India’ is at stake".

In addition to the violence taking place in Orissa, Karnataka, Madya Pradesh, and Kerala, Archbishop Concessao also cites abuses by Hindu fundamentalists in Delhi. Just yesterday, a Hindutva group occupied the property in front of the church of Prabhu Prakash Girija, in Trilokpuri, in the eastern part of Delhi. The property is used as a garden by the Catholics, and the city authorities have placed limitations on construction on the spot. The church has been maintaining the garden since 1991. But the extremist group has threatened to build a temple there. Last week, they placed statues of Hindu divinities in a niche set up against the wall of the church.

In the past, there have been many clashes between Hindus and Muslims because of attempts by radical Hindus to take possession of Islamic places of worship.

"This is another incident of the growing anti-Christian wave that is spreading its evil tentacles all over our beloved country and sadly, it will have long-term disastrous consequences on secular democracy. These misguided extremists are indoctrinated with the Hinduvta ideology and their methodology and strategy is ‘muscle power’, they do not respond to either reason or dialogue. It is very much like Nazism, they are brainwashed into believing that India should be exclusively Hindu, they do not believe in secular democracy".

"This is very unfortunate, on the one hand on the global stage, India is emerging as a world power in the 21st century, while in our own country, there is growing religious intolerance and human rights and freedom of faith are blatantly violated. The international community and the world leaders who believe in secular democracy must oppose and condemn this gross violation of constitutional rights in India. It is much larger than ‘minority rights’, it is a question of the future of democracy in India".

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