Mumbai (AsiaNews) – For Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), comments by Hindu nationalist lawmaker Sakshi Maharaj, a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on the earthquake in Nepal are “vile and sinister” as well as “disgusting and cruel”.
The GCIC president spoke to AsiaNews after the Maharaj said that Rahul Gandhi, vice president of the opposition Congress Party, was responsible for the Nepal earthquake because he visited a Hindu holy site without purifying himself after eating beef.
According to Hindu tradition, the cow is sacred. Many Indian states have restrictions on the consumption and sale of beef.
Maharaj told reporters that "Rahul Gandhi eats beef, and goes to the holy shrine (Kedarnath) without purifying himself. The earthquake was bound to happen," The Times of India reported. Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Sadhvi Prachi was also present.
The BJP lawmaker was reacting to Gandhi's recent visit to the Kedarnath temple (Uttarkhand). The shrine is one of the most important Hindu sites and is dedicated to the god Shiva. It recently re-opened to the public for the first time in weeks
The Congress Party reacted angrily to Maharaj's statement, asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi – and other BJP leaders – to take action against him, a request the GCIC president endorses.
"During the election campaign, Modi allowed far-right politicians like Sakshi Maharaj – who are supported by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – to promote their Hindutva agenda".
"In the past, Maharaj described the Mahatma Gandhi’s murderer as a ‘patriot’,” Sajan George told AsiaNews. “He also said that Hindu women should have four children to ensure the survival of religion. He also called for the death penalty for Hindus who convert to Islam and Christianity."
Ultimately, “The beef eating comment was aimed at minorities,” the GCIC president explained. “It is a way of politicising religion.”
For George, “With their anti-Christian and anti-minority violence, these extremists have created fertile ground to intimidate the most vulnerable communities.”
Indeed, “Although police have arrested some people for the church attacks in Delhi and Agra, we suspect that the real culprits are still at large. Similar lies can only lead to destruction and horror."