The Archbishop of Delhi has spoken. The faithful have heard. What did they make of his message? To be careful while voting? That is the most likely interpretation. And that is what he probably wished to convey.
Christians who voted BJP in 2014 – and there were too many of them to count – have had second thoughts much earlier than May 8, when the Rev Anil Couto’s circular was distributed to all the churches in his diocese.
Archbishop Couto spoke about “the threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution and the secular fabric”. He is not the only Indian to have raised such concerns. I know countless Hindus, good, solid citizens of our country, who have condemned the covert and overt attempts to demolish institutions, attacks that portend the end of our secular fabric.
BJP bigwigs, Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah, have understandably taken umbrage at what Shah calls “the polarisation of voters on communal lines”. Shah himself is adept in the art of communal polarisation. To accuse a cleric like Anil Couto, an uncomplicated individual hailing from my mother’s village in Goa, amuses me not a little.
KJ Alphons, the Christian face in the NDA cabinet, wants ‘godmen’ to keep away from making political statements. But when his own party appoints a ‘godman’ as chief minister, how can its adherent stop a religious leader of a minority community from voicing concerns that are vital to that community’s very existence?
The truth is that the BJP government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as distinct from the previous BJP-led government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, doubts and questions the patriotism of the minorities! This is totally unacceptable.
I remember my own brief interaction with KS Sudershan, the predecessor of the present RSS chief. He talked incessantly of ‘80%’, by which he excluded Muslims and Christians from the mass that constitutes this country’s population!
Ever since the Modi government was installed, Muslims have been subjected to a steady onslaught that has terrorised the entire community. It will not be long before ‘they’ come for the next target in true fascist tradition.