Bishops: Indian government inaction on minorities' hounding makes it complicit

(Photo: REUTERS / Rupak De Chowdhuri)Catholic nuns from the Missionaries of Charity, the global order of nuns founded by Mother Teresa, take part in a mass service to mark the 104th birth anniversary of Mother Teresa in Kolkata August 26, 2014. Teresa, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who died in 1997, was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003 at the Vatican.

The silence of President Narenda Modi in the face of the increasing persecution of minorities in the country makes him an accomplice to the violence say India's Catholic bishops.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) assailed the Indian government for its inaction on attacks against minorities, saying that right-wing groups needed to be reined in to stop the violence.

"The new government of nationalist leader Narendra Modi is not openly against minorities, but we are sad and worried about what is happening in India.

"The government says and does nothing to stop the right wing religious groups who attack minorities," said Father Charles Irudayam, executive secretary of the CBCI's justice, peace and development commission.

"This makes the government an accomplice," said the priest, in a statement carried by the Catholic Fides news agency.

Irudayam cited an incident in Central India where several extreme Hindu nationalist groups stepped up attacks against minorities there.

For instance, in Chhattisgarh state, extremists stopped missionaries and Catholic clergy from going to some areas and villages to preach.

The commission sent a formal complaint to the state government, which has yet to respond to it, according to the priest.

He lamented the falling on deaf ears of mounting pleas by civil society for more action and intervention to stop the violence against minorities.

The priest said some bishops have raised the question on how long the government will ignore the mounting violence against minorities.

"The central government of Narendra Modi has never condemned the violence. This silence means that, in its mind, it shares the approach and ideology of an India reserved for Hindus," Irudayam noted.

"But this idea goes against our Constitution, which outlines a democratic and pluralistic nation. It is the government's responsibility to respect and ensure respect for the Constitution," he explained.

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