Bhopal (AsiaNews) – Increasingly, the Narmada Samajik Kumbh, a Hindu gathering in Madhya Pradesh of some two million people set to end on Sunday, is turning anti-Christian and anti-Muslim in its tone. Organised by associations that include armed Hindu groups, the event has pushed Christian and other religious minorities to demand government protection for fear of clashes or violence. Now fears have come true (see Nirmala Carvalho, “Fear of violence at a 2 million-strong Hindu gathering in Madhya Pradesh,” in AsiaNews, 9 February 2011)
“Last night some of our people went to the kumbh (gathering) and were astonished to see anti-Christian posters,” Fr Anand Muttungal, spokesman for the Catholic Church in Madhya Pradesh, told AsiaNews. “Some mocked the charity work of Mother Teresa. Many posters attributed evil things to our mission work, accusing us of converting people or enticing them to convert. Even the noble work of Mother Teresa among the poorest of the poor was presented in a bad light. We immediately protested with the organisers, and a member of the organising committee (who asked for anonymity) said he would take care of the problem immediately. Some posters were anti-Muslim as well.”
Earlier, Fr Anand Muttungal had met the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan to ask him for assurances concerning the security of minorities.
“Last night, around 10.30 pm, I went to the kumbh. Someone was preaching. He was attacking the Bible,” Fr George Thomas, who runs the mission station in Mandala, told Asianew. “He was quoting from the Book of Genesis, telling people that it was full of inaccuracies and falsehoods. He went on to attack the Pope, saying that he was wrong to excommunicate Galileo, and that he should ask forgiveness for this and other errors he made.”
Now, many fear that extremist propaganda might affect the lives of Christians after the mass event is over. Even though Hindu extremists are a minority in relation to the community of faithful, they are very aggressive.