Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong did not mince words in the memorandum submitted to Mr LK Advani who went to Shillong (29 Sept) to garner tribal and Christian votes for BJP Party a partner in the Orissa State Government where anti-Christian violence continues unabated since 24 August 2008.
The Archbishop reminds Advani, that ‘our beloved country has been known for its ancient civilization and for upholding values like Ahimsa, Truth, Tolerance and Respect for Religions. This picture has been very badly tarnished’.
‘We perceive the allegations of forced conversions by Christian communities as a strategy developed by vested interests in order to prevent Christian services of health, education, poverty alleviation and development on behalf of deprived communities. Conversion by force, allurements or deception goes against the teaching of the Catholic Church. Does not the Hindutva opposition to Christian activities come rather from the fear that many of the deprived communities may be so empowered as to assert their own rights and resist exploitation? All our works are carried out because we believe that Jesus Christ calls us to build a society founded on love, justice and social harmony’.
‘Given the record of attacks on Christians in various States ruled by the BJP (right wing Hindu party), we express our great doubts and anxiety for our future if our Country is governed by such a party again. Will the Christian communities ever feel secure and safe in their own home land? Will their rights ever be respected? Will those who feel protected by such a government feel free to unleash waves of violent attacks and persecution on the helpless communities? Verbal assurances are of no use to guarantee a safe and secure existence in our country. We will keep praying that God may preserve our country and lead it along the path of peace and harmony among all people’.