By Matters India Reporter
Panaji: Hate-speeches like the one allegedly delivered by Sadhvi Saraswati in Goa in June are vitiating the already surcharged atmosphere in India eventually leading to violence against members of minority communities, says All India Catholic Union (AICU).
“Such statements vitiate the already surcharged atmosphere. This is the type of targeting that has led to large number of lynching of Muslims and Dalits in several states in the country,” AICU spokesperson John Dayal told reporters at a press conference in Panaji, capital of Goa, on July 31.
Madhya Pradesh-based Sadhvi Saraswati, who was in Goa to attend a four-day All-India Hindu Convention in June, had said that those who eat beef should be hanged.
“People who take it as status symbol to eat beef, I request the Centre to hang them in public. People will then understand that cow protection is our responsibility,” Saraswati had said.
Dayal also said that AICU expressed deep concern over the government’s decisions like beef ban and notifications banning cattle trade, suggesting that it would affect the marginalized and the poor in the country.
A prominent Catholic group on July 31 denounced hate-speeches made by Hindu radicals that it says “have further vitiated the surcharged atmosphere, and aggravated the communal polarization” in India.
AICU released a statement at the press conference attended by its president Lancy D’Cunha.
The union, which prepares to mark its centenary in 2019, is the oldest and largest Laity organization in Asia. The AICU held two-day special consultations on issues impacting the Christian community in the country at the Goa meeting that ended on July 31.
“Sadhvi Sarasvati’s call for death to beef eaters is the type of targeting that has led to the rash of the large number of lynching of Muslims and Dalits in several states in India,” the statement said.
The union congratulated India’s new President Ram Chandra Kovind, the second Dali to occupy the country’s topmost post. The AICU has urged the president and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to order exemplary action against such hate mongers.
“Although government has sought to appease Christians in Goa and the northeast by keeping the states out of the ban on beef, the politics of the cow has targeted Muslims and other communities whose food habits and economy depended on the trade in bovines. Its ramifications have not been fully understood, and AICU fears they will irretrievably damage the economic health of the farmers and the poor,” the press release said.
The largest Catholic lay organization in India also expressed alarm at the serial attempts by the federal and State governments to saffronize all levels of education in the country by direct changes in academic curricula, text books and teaching.
“The coming generations scientific reasoning and the pursuit of knowledge to a warped interpretation of history, archaeology and social sciences that will make children misfits in a modern world and will unravel the progress made in the decades since Independence,” the Catholic body warns.
The AICU supported the demand of the Catholic Association of Goa for a minority commission in the western Indian state. It noted that the Human Rights and other bodies meant to safeguard constitutional rights were dysfunctional.
It alleged a lack of transparency in government recruitment in the absence of a state services board or commission. “This had created anarchy in the selection of candidates who were now being chosen at the whims and fancies of officers on interview boards,” the statement said.
A major fear of the people is of moves to nationalize rivers of Goa to open them to the corporate sector as transport routes for coal. Any proposal to make a coal transport hub poses serious threat to the health of the rivers and its ecology which has barely recovered from the ravages by the ore shipping trade.
The Union also backed the Catholic Community of Mumbai, the capital of neighboring Maharashtra, which has been fighting the desecration of Crosses, and their arbitrary demolition despite authentic documentation of their antiquity. It noticed that the people had often voluntary shifted holy Crosses if they felt it was in the national cause. It was in line with the Christian community giving up a church so that India’s rocket and space sciences could have their first base in Kerala.
AICU notes the mischief inherent in efforts by the Mumbai authorities in evolving development plans for the city without acknowledging the presence of churches and other Christians institutions. This makes them venerable to demolition in the future. The government must take remedial action immediately, the union said.