Mumbai (AsiaNews) – India’s armed militants Maoists "have never targeted churches and priests just because they serve them or is there some other reason?" asked provocatively Indresh Kumar, a leader with the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as he spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a Forum for Awareness of National Security (FANS) in Raipur (Chhattisgarh) devoted to leftwing insurgency in south Chhattisgarh.
Following the outcry his speech caused, the politician was quick clarify his statement. "My intention,” he told reporters, “is not to criticise Churches. I know they are committed to India and their people believe in serving the nation, but I want their active role in eradicating Maoism; therefore, I have put forth these issues. They should decide whether the movement has brought life or death to the region”.
For many years, Maoist violence has disrupted life in many a state like Chhattisgarh. The Naxalite movement was founded in 1967 in Naxalbari, a village in West Bengal. In 2004, two of its main factions merged to form the Communist Party of India (Maoist).
The Naxaliite movement has about 30,000 fighters concentrated in the so-called "red corridor" that runs along the Indian sub-continent from the border with Nepal to Andhra Pradesh (southern India).
For Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), the security concerns expressed by the RSS leader are not real. "Words like his are inflammatory and dangerous,” he told AsiaNews.
“At a time when the world is shaken by the violence in Paris, an important political leader makes irresponsible statements, sowing seeds of discord and division to destroy secular and multi-religious India."