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Bishop: ‘Central India is in the hands of Hindu extremists’

Catholic World News - July 09, 2010

Following a death threat against a Church spokesman, Bishop Chacko Thottumarickal of Indore told the Fides news agency that “the central part of India, from east to west, is in the hand of Hindu extremists groups who are committing violence amidst a climate of impunity” because “they have the support of the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which protects them and often guarantees impunity.” Nonetheless, “we want to let them know that we do not consider them enemies. We want to put into practice the Gospel commandment to love enemies and live non-violence.”

“In Madhya Pradesh, since 1967 an anti-conversion law called ‘Freedom of Religion Bill’ has been put in place, which prohibits conversions by deception, fraud, or by money,” Bishop Thottumarickal added. “We also believe in conversion as movement of the heart, operated by the Spirit’ otherwise it is not true conversion. But the law is used to limit the freedom of religion and the freedom to change religion.” Thus, “evangelization is indeed a great challenge for these obvious obstacles and difficulties.” Only 0.8% of the 4.5 million people who live within Indore’s diocesan boundaries are Catholic.

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