Archbishop Machado: police allow outside extremists to influence them
The Archbishop of Bangalore criticises recent acts of violence against the Christian minority. For Christians, “the ‘good days’ never come.” Some public officials do their duty conscientiously. No one is forcibly converted in schools or hospitals. “We love Mother India!”
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Recent episodes of intolerance towards Christians clearly show that police have let themselves to be influenced by outside Hindu extremists.
“For us Christians in Karnataka, the ‘good days’ (achhe din, in Hindi) never come,” said Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore, paraphrasing a well-known political slogan.[*]
His remarks follow three incidents that have recently hit the community: the desecration of the Church of St Francis of Assisi in Bengaluru (Bangalore), the removal of the statue of Jesus from a cemetery in Mahima Betta and the beating of a Christian official at Sanjo Hospital in Mandhya.
Extremists “make provocative speeches,” said Archbishop Machado, but “What is worse is that they are neither censored nor stopped.” For him “it is above all those who come from outside that create problems, confusion and disharmony”.
Such was the case when the statue in Mahima Betta was removed. Here, police bowed to the demands of groups from outside the village, who accuse Christians of forced conversions.
“Unfortunately, local officials, like revenue officers and police, tacitly support or are afraid to take action” when extremists target “the Christian minority and its institutions.”
“I hope the government will send a strong signal that it will not tolerate such hostilities against the Christian community.”
“There has been a sinister pattern in the latest incidents, especially as they (extremists) dare to disturb places of worship, pilgrimage centres and hospitals on flimsy grounds like complaints about conversion.”
It is a known fact that “thousands of children study at our institutions or are treated in our hospitals, but none have been converted.”
For this reason, “Unless the government takes strong measures to stop such harassment against us as a minority community, we may be forced to make it a major issue for redressal before public and constitutional authorities.”
Despite everything, the Archbishop of Bangalore is grateful for “the good officials who carry out their duty conscientiously despite the pressures they receive.”
Indian Christians “are sincere and peace-loving citizens of this country. We are aware of our rights. And we shall carry out our duties within the framework of the constitution. We love Mother India!”
[*] Achhe din aane waale hain (Hindi: "Good days are coming") was the slogan the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) used in the 2014 Indian general election.