In a shocking development, Delhi Archdiocese has started an election campaign ahead of the 2019 general elections with a view to dislodge the Modi government during the next elections. It has been alleged that India faces a turbulent political future necessitating such prayers.
On May 13th Delhi Archbishop, Anil Joseph Thomas Couto issued a pastoral letter with a prayer to be recited in all parishes of the diocese, together with fasting and Eucharistic adoration, every Friday until the 2019 elections. The Archbishop then continues with the political rhetoric and refers to the make-believe threat to democratic values, secularism and the Constitution of India. The letter is dated May 8th but then it was read out on May 13th, the anniversary of the Apparition of the Blessed Mother in Fatima, Portugal.
The Christian groups have been invoking the allegation of attacks on the Christians and the Churches under the Modi government in order to justify its overreach. However, there is no data to back this claim. In fact, there has been an organized misinformation campaign to malign the Hindus and the Modi government. However, most of these claims have turned out to be mere concoctions. Even after the Karnataka election results were announced, speculations of attack by the BJP cadres on Churches were spread by vested interests in order to malign the Modi government.
The religious campaign aimed at influencing Indian politics is not limited to the Delhi Archbishop. In fact, it has received the support of other church leaders across India. A church leader from Jharkhand, Tomson Thomas stated that the prayer is necessary to build peace and harmony. Similarly, Maria Stephen, public relations officer for the bishops’ council in Madhya Pradesh opined that the prayers for influencing elections be carried out with enthusiasm across the country. What is more dangerous is the fact that they are hopeful of this practice spreading to other religious communities, whereby religious institutions will try to influence elections taking place in the country.
The church leaders are acting as secularists and protectors of the democracy. However, the truth is that they are the biggest threat to these constitutional principles. The fact remains that secularism means to separate church and state from each other. Religion should have nothing to do with the state. However, in the present case the church seems to be hellbent on not only associating itself with religion but also on influencing Indian politics and elections by invoking divine intervention. In fact, in the garb of preserving secularism, democracy and the constitutional values, certain churches and missionaries have been peddling all kinds of misinformation. Even foreign influence with an attempt to malign India cannot be ruled out. Fake news of burning or vandalizing churches has gone viral on social media time and again.
Churches and missionaries are acting like victims but the fact is that they are no longer enjoying the freedom of going on a conversion spree as they did during the UPA government. Having been reined in from carrying out such insidious activities, they are now trying to portray themselves as victims and paint the Modi government as the villain. They are no longer given the immunity of De-Hindufying susceptible regions, especially the tribal areas in India under the Modi government. The Modi government has been quite stern in disallowing the awful and unfair means used for carrying out mass conversions. In fact, ordinary villages are now standing up to the missionaries and their awful methods. This has left the missionaries perplexed and now the influential men in the churches and missionaries across India are pressing hard to malign the present government by hook or by crook in order to overcome the resistance put up by vulnerable Hindus against insidious conversions carried out by the missionaries.