Q: Is there an attempt to introduce Arathi in the name of patriotism in our schools and colleges? Is there also any attempt to destabilize the Christian community by banning Christmas celebrations?
A: When ABVP won the election in St Mary’s College in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, they wanted to do Arathi to Bharath Matha, but the principal objected saying it was not a part of the school’s tradition. Then some people from outside came and started shouting slogans. When they started breaking walls, the police resorted to lathycharge, forcing them to run away. They have threatened to return. We have our own way of honouring the country; we are patriotic and our children are taught patriotism. The ABVP does not need to teach us patriotism in our schools and institutions, which are private. I believe that they are secretly allied to certain extreme fundamentalist groups. They are trying to divert people’s attention from the nation’s burning problems. There is dissatisfaction among the people because of unemployment and other social and economic problems. They are working with their eyes set on the approaching elections. The government authorities are not anti-Church. There was an attempt by Bajrang Dal to create fear in the Christian community by disturbing Christmas celebrations in Satna diocese. The government is not against us. In fact, they are helping us in a way. They want to maintain peace among all the religious groups. I discussed the matter with the chief minister personally. As a result, the state was very vigilant during the Christmas season.
Abp Leo Cornelio SVD