Gujarat: VHP working president calls Archbishop’s letter a tactic to divide communallyhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/gujarat-vhp-working-president-calls-archbishops-letter-a-tactic-to-divide-communally-5186457/

Gujarat: VHP working president calls Archbishop’s letter a tactic to divide communally

VHP working President Alok Kumar on Tuesday condemned a letter from Delhi Catholic Archbishop Anil Couto, dated May 8, addressed to all churches in the capital to "pray ahead of 2019 polls", referring to the current political atmosphere in the country as "turbulent".

gujarat VHP, vishwa hindu parishad, VHP working President Alok Kumar, Delhi Catholic Archbishop, Anil Couto, 2019 polls, 2019 assembly polls
In his letter, the Archbishop asks for a prayer campaign and a day of fasting every week ahead of the general elections. (Representational Image)

VHP working President Alok Kumar on Tuesday condemned a letter from Delhi Catholic Archbishop Anil Couto, dated May 8, addressed to all churches in the capital to “pray ahead of 2019 polls”, referring to the current political atmosphere in the country “turbulent”. Kumar who was in Vadodara on Tuesday for an interaction called it a strategy to garner Christian votes. Kumar said, “We believe that usage of religious language with words like ‘fast’ and ‘prayers’, puts undue pressure on people following the religion to follow what is being preached. VHP condemns such tactics to create vote banks.” In his letter, the Archbishop asks for a prayer campaign and a day of fasting every week ahead of the general elections.

“It is our hallowed practice to pray for our country and its political leaders all the time but all the more so when we approach the general elections. As we look forward towards 2019 when we will have a new government, let us begin a prayer campaign from May 13,” the Archbishop had said in the letter.

The letter which also read that the democratic and secular framework of the country is under threat was called as a direct interference to manipulate voters and create community-based vote banks, by Kumar. “Facilitating such vote banks based on religious sentiments is in itself a threat to democracy and if other communities will play such tactics, Hindus won’t be left behind either,” said Kumar. He further warned that one must also keep the proportion of voters from every community in mind before taking such a step.

Kumar also questioned the authority of the archbishop to issue such a letter, “Does the letter have approval from the Vatican or is the Vatican aware of the issuance of such a letter?” he asked.

Advertising

Speaking on the Ram Mandir, Kumar showed optimism about their expectations from the Supreme Court verdict slated in a few months. “Justice will be served, our case is strong and we will win. A magnificent Ram Mandir will be built in Ayodhya,” Kumar said.

Ahead of 2019 elections, Kumar refused to comment on the promise of ‘acche din’ by the BJP government but said, “VHP workers are asked to work for the nation and we will extend our support to anyone who works for the nation and for Hindus.”

He also warned over the release of ‘Loveratri’, an upcoming drama by Salman Khan’s production house, in Gujarat.

For latest coverage on Haryana and Maharashtra Elections, log on to IndianExpress.com. We bring you the fastest assembly election 2019 updates from each constituency in both the states.