At the Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, Christian leaders remarked that most of India’s Hindu population was secular and tolerant of India’s religious minority communities. Yet, the leaders went on to say that there was an “aggressive minority” in the country’s Hindu population that uses violence and a radical ideology to persecuted religious minorities. The leaders also went on to say that this aggressive minority had significant influence in India’s current government. Will India be able to isolate this aggressive minority and protect the country’s religious minorities?
3/4/2016 India (Asia News) – Faced with a long series of acts of violence and attacks against India’s Christian community at the hands of Hindu fundamentalists, Indian bishops want to breathe new life into the debate about the country’s secularism. Their venue is the 32nd Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), which opened yesterday until 9 March.
Speaking at a press conference before the meeting, Card Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, who is CBCI president and archbishop of Trivananthapuram, said that most Hindus are secular.
“Politics is a good thing,” he explained, “but not vote-bank politics. If the entire Hindu community in India decided to be communal, Christians, Muslims and Sikhs would not be safe. Thank God that most Hindus in India are secular. The virtue of secularism should be celebrated by everyone.”
Mgr. Thomas Menamparampil, apostolic administrator of Jowai, agrees, up to a point. Known as an outstanding champion of peace and communal harmony, he told AsiaNews that he “would generally agree with Cardinal Cleemis that Hindu society as a whole respects other points of view and is tolerant of minorities.”
And yet, “there is certainly an aggressive minority among them that seeks to keep alive the memories of historic wounds that Hindu society suffered in the past in order to obtain the dominant positions in the country.”
For him, “The mistake of the present Government is to be excessively influenced by this minority, and occasionally surrender to them, especially since its leaders know that they depend on these people’s energies to win votes.”