New Delhi (AsiaNews) - In a meeting with Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, the Indian Church reiterated the commitment of Catholics to national unity and secular values.
On Thursday, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), and Mgr Anil Couto, archbishop of Delhi, along with eight other representatives of the archdiocese of the Indian capital, visited Naidu for a meeting organised by the CBCI.
The prelates congratulated the vice president on behalf of Indian Catholics for his recent election.
During the one-hour meeting, Naidu reiterated the secular nature of the nation and how its people have lived in harmony since ancient times.
The VP defended Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose nationalist policies, according to critics and activists, have fuelled ethnic and religious tensions in the country.
For Naidu, the latter are due to some politicians who use religions and caste to get votes, whereas the prime minister is moved only by the interest of the country and society.
Asked about the violence caused by the Rakshak Gau (cow vigilantes) against minorities who buy and sell meat and leather, Naidu said the cow is an important animal, but the life of a human being is even more so.
The vice president finally expressed appreciation for the work of the Church, emphasising that Christians are a peaceful community, whose work represents a great contribution to the nation’s growth.
Responding to a question about the rising violence and incidents of intolerance against Christians (such interrupted ceremonies in Tamil Nadu, desecrations in Goa, restrictive regulations on the churches elsewhere), Naidu promised to bring the matter to the attention of the country’s leaders.