By ABDUL HAFIZ LAKHANI – Ahmedabad
After Hindu- Muslim polarization which has already effected Gujarat for many years, it is now Church politics in Modi-land in this Assembly election,as RSS-affiliated Legal Rights Observatory (LRO) has moved the Election Commission (EC) against Archdiocese of Gandhinagar, Archbishop Thomas Macwan, for releasing a signed communique which urged to “save secularism” and Indian from the “nationalist forces”, which were on the “verge of taking over the country”.
In a signed letter Archdiocese of Gandhinagar Archbishop Thomas Macwan has urged Christians to pray for the election of humane leaders to save India from nationalist forces. The letter on behalf of al Bishops of Churches in the state have urged Christians to organise prayer services so that people who are faithful to the Indian Constitution could be elected. “The Bishops of Gujarat state request you to organise prayer services in your parishes and convents so that people, who would remain faithful to our Indian Constitution and respect every human being without any discrimination, are elected in the Gujarat state Assembly,” said the letter signed by Macwan on November 21.
The official communique termed Gujarat elections as “significant” for the future of India. Without mentioning the name of any political party, the letter, however, urged Christians to pray for the defeat of nationalist forces.
Though no party has been named, yet the allusions to BJP and RSS are more than obvious. LRO has lodged a formal complaint with the EC, alleging a paid news angle behind the communique released on November 21. In the letter, which was accessed , the rightwing legal body has called for an inquiry and demanded action against the priest.
“With this complaint, I urge you to immediately take action against Bishop and thwart his attempts to divide Gujarat voters on the bases of caste, creed and religion. As the statement is highly biased against ruling party, paid news angle should be investigated and due action be taken against those guilty,” said LRO convenor and former RSS pracharak Vinay Joshi.While the communique referred to atrocities on the poor, OBC and minorities and claimed that Constitutional rights were being violated in the current regime, the LRO letter accused the priest of trying “his best to generate fear among voters”, apart from trying “to divide voters on the basis of caste and creed” and “spreading the rumors to create clashes between various social groups and also making baseless allegations against Nationalists Forces”.
Calling the remarks “highly provocative and objectionable” which “directly aimed at demonising certain organisations…obliquely appealing electorate to vote against ruling BJP”, LRO wants Macwan prosecuted under the Representation of the People Act-1951.
In the communique, the priest had also asked Christians to pray for divine intervention, and as Gujarat elections “could make a difference”, it also urged the people to select and vote for candidates who would uphold the Constitution and safeguard people against discrimination. Earlier, the same LRO had lodged another such complaint with the EC during Goa elections against Goa Catholic Bishop’s magazine under RP Act 1951.
“While studying the matter of indulgence of Catholic Church and other Christian bodies in electioneering in India violating RP Act 1951, I have come across several instances and I shall be bringing them in front of the Election Commission,” said Joshi.