The Pope the religious head of the Roman Catholics and the Head of state of the Vatican city threw all diplomatic propriety to the winds and interfered in the internal affairs of india by commenting on the efforts in some indian states to check religious conversions through legislation.
“The disturbing signs of religious intolerance that have troubled some regions of the nation, including the reprehensible attempt to legislate clearly discriminatory restrictions on the fundamental right of religious freedom, must be firmly rejected as not only unconstitutional, but also as contrary to the highest ideals of India’s founding fathers, who believed in a nation of peaceful coexistence and mutual tolerance between different religions and ethnic groups. “No citizen of India, especially the weak and the underprivileged, should ever have to experience discrimination for any reason, especially based on ethnic or religious background or social position “. the Pope said in a meeting with New Delhi’s new ambassador to the Vatican, Amitava Tripathi.
As expected there was lukewarm condemnation from the spineless MEA.
“It is acknowledged universally that India is a secular and democratic country in which adherents of all religious faiths enjoy equal rights,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said in response to a question. “The constitution of India states that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion,” he added.
The BJP and RSS were much more forthright in their condemnation
The Pope’s remarks on religious freedom are not relevant to India. There is much more freedom here than in many countries,” BJP Spokesman Prakash Javadekar said.
“Freedom of religion does not mean conversions by coercion and allurements,” he added.Asserting that State Assemblies had the power to enact such legislations, he said, “Such laws are not against conversion by conviction but if people convert en masse, motives have to be there”.
But the most bizzare statement was from the Sangh Parivar’s joker of the pack, Ashok Singhal of the VHP. In his statement he invited the Pope to join forces against Islamic Jihad
VHP Supremo Ashok Singhal reminded the head of the Catholic church that both Hindus and Christians faced the “same historical threat of Jihad (Islamic Holy War).” “We appeal to the Pope that both Christians and Hindus are facing the same historical threat to Jihad i.e. terrorism, from the destruction of Kashi, Ayodhya and Somnath temples to the crusades under the Pope to defend Christianity in Europe and now the strikes on World Trade Centre and London to the daily attacks on Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir.“It is better that without fighting each other, let us fight against Jihad and the Pope should declare that the Church will not convert a single Hindu,” he said.