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India is divided over religion; losing confidence in govt, says top Catholic body

India is divided over religion; losing confidence in govt, says top Catholic body
Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. Pic: The Indian Express

New Delhi: With the recent attack on Satna church over an allegation of forced conversion, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the apex decision-making body of the Catholic Church in the country, has expressed deep dissatisfaction in the current government.

“From the point of the Christian community, this whole incident of attack on priests and seminaries in Satna and the state government’s move to file cases against the priests, arresting the poor and the innocent instead of finding the culprits, do not help us to keep our confidence in the government intact. We are losing our confidence in the government,” Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, the head of the Bishops told The Indian Express in an interview.

In a village of BJP governed Madhya Pradesh, 30 priest and seminarians singing carols were detained by the police as Bajrang Dal workers accused them of forceful conversion, with one of the priests getting arrested.

“I agree such incidents can happen in a big country… But how do you evaluate the strength and stand of the government? It is the subsequent action and the legal protection are what matter,” the Cardinal said.

“The country is being divided on the basis of religious belief. It is bad in a democratic country. I want my country to be united in a secular fabric. But now, this country is being polarised due to religious affiliations. We should fight against it,” the Cardinal added.

Cleemis heading a delegation of the CBCI met Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday and showed their “pain and anguish and sought justice”.

According to him, the home minister’s “spontaneous response” was positive assuring an immediate action.