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Prominent Indian Catholic politician whitewashes BJP on anti-Christian violence

Catholic World News - June 26, 2012

P. A. Sangma, a prominent Catholic politician in India, has shocked fellow Christians by absolving the Hindu-nationalist BJP party of involvement in the anti-Christian violence that rocked the Kandhamal region in 2008.

Sangman, who was endorsed by the BJP last week as its candidate for the federal presidential election, said that there is “no evidence” to connect the BJP with the bloodshed carried out by Hindu fundamentalist mobs in Kandhamal. The violence left over 100 Christians dead and 56,000 homeless.

Several months after the carnage, the BJP nominated Manoj Pradhan—who had been arrested for leading mobs in several murder and arson cases connected with the anti-Christian pogrom—as its candidate for state election. In part because of the massive displacement of Christians, Pradhan was elected a state legislator while still behind bars in April 2009.

A former speaker of India’s parliament and a tribal Christian leader, Sangma is being supported by several opposition parties in the indirect election for the presidency. (The voters in the the presidential election are state legislators and the national parliament.) By endorsing Sangma, the BJP is trying to establish foothold in the heavily Christian areas of northeast India bordering Bhutan, China, and Myanmar.

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