02/06/2006, 00.00
INDIA
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Bishop Fernandez: they attack us because they don't know the essence of Christianity

by Nirmala Carvalho

The Secretary of India's episcopal conference remarks on the recent wave of violence against Christians in India: extremists don't know that God is love, something that would leave them dumbfounded.  To advance their plans, they indoctrinate poor people with falsehoods.  Catholic activist. "a dangerous pattern" passes also through Maharashtra and Rajasathan.  Accusations against the BJP.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Hindu fundamentalist attack Christians because they do not know what Christianity is about and rely on indoctrinating innocent people with falsities  This is how Bishop Percival Fernandez, secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), explains, in an interview with AsiaNews, the growing violence to which Christians in India continue to be subjected.  The lastest aggression took place last night in Pardeshipura, Indore, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, against two young people who were handing out religious material.

"Fundamentalists attack us only because they are unaware of the essence of Christianity," Bishop Fernandez said.  "The worst thing is that they often make use of innocent people, poisoning their minds with falsehoods."  According to the Bishop, "Such fundamentalists would be surprised to know that Christianity preaches love: that of God for man and man for each other."

The CBCI Secretary assures that "we are not angry with extremists or with the people they use to express their unfounded animosity.  We just pity them and love them," concluding that, "we will continue to abide by Jesus' command to pray for those who persecute us and love those who hate us!"

Yesterday's attack is just the latest in what Catholic leaders in the country consider a full-blown fundamentalist Hindu design against Christians in Madhya Pradesh.   According to John Dayal, President of the All India Catholic Union, this design also includes other states.  He points out that "a very dangerous pattern has emerged, which passes through Maharashtra, Rajasthan and most of Madhya Pradesh."  Here, this activist recalls, there have been dozens of incidents in Jabalpur, Indore and Bhopal: "The conspiracy is quite clear."

Catholic leader Dayal singles out the BJP, which "owes the world answers. Has it learnt nothing?" he stresses, "Does it not want to be called a civilized political force?  Or does it want to remain the handmaiden of a rabid entity called the Sangh Parivar?"  Dayal then launches an appeal, "The entire nation must rise as one, forgetting religious divisions, to denounce RSS tactics in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. If the single states will not listen, the central government must find the rules within constitutional provisions to take the required action."

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