Recent attacks on churches and Christians in India have made many “feel that their Christian identity is being questioned”, the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India today said, adding that it showed that not everybody had taken seriously the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance to minorities.
“There are lot of people who feel their Christian identity is being questioned. Indian Christian identity is being questioned, and it gives certain sense of sadness,” Cardinal Baselios Cleemis said.
In an interview to Karan Thapar on Headlines Today, Cleemis also described as “very painful and sad” the comments of RSS head Mohan Bhagwat that Mother Teresa’s humanitarian works were driven by her motive to convert those she served.
“It was very painful and very sad to hear about Mother Teresa whom the nation honoured with Bharat Ratna,” he said.
He did not single out any organisation over these incidents but criticised the Modi government for observing Christmas as Good Governance Day, saying good governance should be done everyday and the Christian festival should be respected.
The BJP government had defended the exercise, saying it was to mark the birthday of its stalwart and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whose birthday falls on December 25.
Commenting on violence targeting Christians and churches despite Modi’s recent assurance to minorities at a Christian congregation, Cleemis said, “I think everybody has to take seriously what he said, especially those in the government.
These incidents show not everybody has taken it seriously.”
Irrespective of their faiths, anybody being attacked was an Indian citizen and it was the government’s duty to protect them, he said.