Q: Are our educational institutions coming under increasing threats? It is reported that in 2016 there were 348 incidents of threat against Christian institutions, which rose to 736 in 2017? Is the BJP silently supporting the fringe groups to create problems for minorities?
A: It is quite evident that we are encountering new difficulties. We have engaged in dialogue with the government officials on this. Some representatives from the laity have submitted a memorandum regarding it to the government. They also held a press conference. We strongly ex- pressed certain concerns with regard to the growing trend of fringe groups creating problems for the minorities, particularly Christians. Madhya Pradesh is ruled by the BJP, which is in power for the third term. The fringe groups claim that it is their government. They are creating problems for us in the name of patriotism. They accuse Christian’s schools of not using slogans like, ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai.’ The BJP wants peace to reign, but they are under pressure not to act against these fringe groups. So we are keeping the line of dialogue open with the people and with people in the administration. We are asking them to take action against those who break the law. The constitutional rights are meant for everyone. The constitution can not be circumvented by making a big issue of patriotism. Love for the country is to be displayed by helping the people. As Christians we are doing our services like medical help, schools and other welfare activities and the government also acknowledges it. On the other hand, the so called fringe groups do nothing other than shouting patriotic slogans. They are trying to teach others a kind of false patriotism. They should be controlled and put in their right place. Only then will peace be restored in the country.
Abp Leo Cornelio, SVD