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Indian Church : “Hindu Extremist Charges against U.S. Are Senseless”

ICC Note:

Christian leaders in India respond to ridiculous claims by Hindu leaders that the CIA is using Christian NGOs to convert India to Christianity by saying that his has become a regular exercise.

by Nirmala Carvalho

AsiaNews (08/24/06) – The comments of fundamentalist Hindu leaders against Christians, the US and their humanitarian work “do not make sense, they have become a sort of regular exercise for these people” while the attack on Maoists operating in the country “calls for action from the authorities to protect people from indiscriminate grievances.”

This was the feedback of Fr Babu Joseph, spokesperson of the Indian Bishops’ Conference, about charges made on 22 August by K S Sudarshan, leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [RSS, paramilitary formation of fundamentalist nationalist Hindus, ed.].

Sudarshan said the CIA and the entire Bush administration “want to convert India to Christianity with the help of non-governmental organizations” while Indian Maoists “are the main authors of terrorism spreading in the country”.

Fr Joseph told AsiaNews: “NGOs belong to all religious communities and if their work creates better social cohesiveness, economic prosperity and religious respect among people, they should be supported rather than accused of nonexistent crimes.”

“Sudarshan’s observations about Maoists operations are dangerous and they call for serious and concerted action from all concerned authorities to redress the social and economic grievances of innocent people,” added the priest.

Much the same view was held by the Jesuit priest, Cedric Prakash, a renowned human rights activist, who told AsiaNews: “The comments are typical of the mindset of the likes of Sudarshan.” Not without irony, he continued: “Now that he has all the proof…he only has to instruct all Hindu followers to start protests, including in the US .”

He added: “The RSS and its leaders should always remember that India is a secular nation and Article 25 of its constitutional charter guarantees freedom of worship to all its citizens.”

John Dayal, chairman of the All India Catholic Union, said: “The fundamentalists do not need to find reason to attack Muslims or Christians: it is in their nature. Intolerance is a feature of the RSS that has always depicted the Christians as foreigners, aliens or traitors of the country, and it accuses the United States of having ‘brought’ them here.”