24 July, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 09/02/2009
INDIA
Jharkhand calls on the Church to help with drought emergency, a step opposed by Hindu extremists
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh charges the government of being “run on communal lines”, something which “will prove dangerous for the people.” For the local BJP president, the new policy is “an attempt to Christianise the State.” For him “Congress wants to win the [next] election with the support of the Church.”

Ranchi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Indian State of Jharkhand has called on the Catholic Church to help distribute food aid to people affected by drought. This has however caused the ire of the Hindu nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Jharkhand Governor’s advisor TP Sinha on Sunday made a formal request to Card Telesphore P Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, for the Church’s official participation in the public distribution system (PDS) in all 24 of the State’s districts.

In July and August the average amount of rain in Jharkhand was 26 per cent below average. Small farmers and Tribal groups have been especially affected. As a result only 22 per cent of local rice fields have met their annual production quota. Whole villages have been abandoned by their residents as people left for the cities where they joined the millions of slum dwellers.

In response to the food emergency State authorities allocated US$ two million to help the large number of residents affected by the drought, this in a State where 52 per cent of the population already lived below the poverty line.

However, for RSS Chief Mithilesh Narayan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Indian National Congress is to blame for what is happening in Jharkhand.

“The Congress party as a whole is in a hurry to please the Church in order to please its president, Sonia Gandhi,” Narayan said.

For the RSS leader, Jharkhand’s State administration is wrong “to outsource one of the most important responsibilities of the State government”. The State itself should not “be run on communal lines”, something which “will prove dangerous for the people.”

The RSS is an umbrella organisation that includes a number of groups of volunteers who operate especially in tribal areas.

For the RSS having the Church play a role in the public distribution system is tantamount to approving Catholic missionary activity.

For Narayan this is unwelcome interference in a domain, that of Tribal communities, that the RSS considers as its own exclusive prerogative.

The government’s decision has also been criticised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Raghuwar Das, chairman of the BJP’s Jharkhand wing, attacked the decision as “an attempt to Christianise the State.” For him “Congress wants to win the [next] election with the support of the Church.”

Since January of this year the State has been under the ‘President’s rule’. State-wide elections are scheduled for February of next year. Buoyant as a result of its strong showing in last April’s Union elections, the BJP wants the poll to be moved up to this October, and is accusing Congress of trying to delay the end of central rule in order to better prepare itself for the upcoming elections.

For its part the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has announced that it will oppose the State’s overture to the Church.

Conversely, the authorities in the State capital of Ranchi have confirmed their intention to bring in Catholic associations, explaining that this is part of a broader strategy to involve every NGO able to work with the public distribution system.

“I am an administrator, not a politician,” TP Sinha said when asked about the controversy. “I am not concerned with the RSS, the USS or Congress.”

“You talked about Christian [groups]. I have asked Pradhan, an NGO, and the Ramkrishna Mission for their support. [Neither of] these is attached to Christian missionaries,” Sinha said. Yet their involvement did not generate any controversy.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
04/23/2007 INDIA
Christians and Hindus clash over land
by Nirmala Carvalho
08/24/2004 INDIA
Priest seriously injured in attack against Catholic Church
07/26/2005 INDIA
Hindu extremists slander the Church but send their children to Church-run schools
by Nirmala Carvalho
04/16/2009 INDIA
What Indian Christians can hope from these elections
by CT Nilesh
12/12/2007 INDIA
More than 500 cases of anti-Christian violence in 23 months

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.