Equating attackers of churches across India to ‘Nazis’, the Bombay Archdiocese on Monday slammed the government for being silent and allowing such attacks to continue. The Bishop was addressing a crowd of nearly 1,500 people, mainly Christians, who had gathered at Azad Maidan for the ‘solidarity rally’ organised by the Bombay Catholic Sabha and Indian Christian Voice.
“On the surface, such attacks look like a campaign against a small, peace-loving minority that would scarcely pose a threat to anyone. Are these isolated incidents or are they part of a systematic plan? Today, it is an attack on Christians, a soft target, but will it stop there? Or will it move soon to other targets? The Nazis had followed the same tactics — the isolated attacks that moved on to another attack. We will soon see that happening here. There is an attempt to make India a homogenous unit — the home of one religion,” said Auxiliary Bishop Agnelo Gracias, speaking on behalf of the Bombay Archdiocese.
The Auxiliary Bishop cited examples of churches being vandalised, Christian prayer meets being disrupted and Bishops refused visas to India to show a ‘pattern’.
The Bishop called the silence of the ‘political party that was voted to power’ post these attacks as the reason for such attacks to continue.“Is the silence of the government coincidental or deliberate? Is not this silence a strategy or studied silence indicating consent with what is happening? If these people are continuing to attack with impunity, it is because the government is silent,” he added.
Shouts of ‘burning churches is bad governance’ followed St Xavier’s College principal Dr Fraser Mascarenhas’s speech. Protection for all, upholding constitutional rights of minorities were among his demands from the Centre and state.
The programme saw speeches by Muslim maulanas as well as Abraham Mathai, former vice-chairman of the Minorities Commission.