Delhi Archbishop’s Letter Sparks Massive Row

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New Delhi: The Delhi Archbishop’s ‘pray for nation’ letter has sparked a massive controversy. On Monday, the Archbishop had had released a circular to churches and other Christian institutions across the city, asking the Christian community to hold prayers and observe a fast on Fridays for the nation’s sake.

In his letter, Anil Couto, the Archbishop, said that, ‘We are witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation…As we look forward towards 2019, when we will have new government, let us begin a prayer campaign for our country from May 13, 2018 which marks the anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Mother at Fatima, consecrating ourselves and our nation to the Immaculate Heart.’

Many see the circular as a direct attack on the Modi government. Reacting to the letter, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that, ‘PM is working towards inclusive growth without discriminating while breaking barriers of religion and castes. We can only ask them to think with progressive mindset.’

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BJP’s Shaina NC also criticised the Archbishop’s circular, saying, ‘Wrong to try and instigate castes or communities. You can tell them to vote for the right candidate or party but to suggest to vote for one party and not another and term yourself as secular is unfortunate.’
The RSS also slammed the circular. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideologue Rakesh Sinha termed the move as a ‘direct attack on Indian secularism and democracy’.

‘This is a direct attack by the Church on Indian secularism and democracy, and this is a direct intervention by the Vatican as these Bishops are appointed by the Pope. Their accountability is not to India but to Pope,’ Sinha was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

“The church is trying to create a situation of civil war in the country. I will not take any step that disturbs the communal and social harmony prevailing in the country but if churches will make such an appeal to ensure that Prime Minister Narendra Modi government does not return to power in 2019, people from the other (Hindu) community will also start doing kirtans and puja to support him,” said Giriraj Singh lashing out the Archbishop.