Following a spate of attacks on churches in the last two months, priests and members from the Delhi Archdiocese have been sending out messages asking people to vote “carefully”.
Father Balraj Lourduswamy, from Our Lady of Graces Church in Vikaspuri — which was attacked two weeks ago — and others have been sending out messages through texts and WhatsApp to their congregation members asking them to choose the next government with caution.
“Ever since the BJP has come to power, there is insecurity among minorities, especially the Christians… It may become difficult for us to practice our faith freely. Please make sure to make the right choice to elect a right govt whether for state or centre. Please forward it to as many people as possible so that we may celebrate our rich cultural heritage, religious harmony…,” Father Lourduswamy’s message reads.
Though Lourduswamy claimed that the message is his “personal concern for India” and there were no directions from the higher authorities to send out such messages, Delhi Archdiocese spokesperson, Father Savarimutthu Shankar said, “Officially, the Church has not taken a line. But the general belief is that voting for the Congress may be a waste. The fight is between the AAP and the BJP… This is a big stage for the AAP and a crucial test for (PM) Modi. Many from other states such as Nagpur and Haryana have come to Delhi for pre-election work and RSS can do anything to win…,” Father Shankar told Newsline.
“Traditionally, the Church never takes a line. We keep ourselves strictly to the realm of religion and political choices are very individualistic,” Father Shankar said.
He also expressed regret over the fact that St Alphonsa’s church in Vasant Kunj, which was attacked on Monday, did not have CCTV cameras.
However, another church near St Alphonsa’s, belonging to a different denomination, was left unharmed. This had given rise to speculation that the “conversion debate” revolving around the Roman Catholic Church may have instigated the attacks.
In fact, in all the five attacks in the last two months, Roman Catholic churches have been targeted.