This concern about the tilt of the Modi government’s economic policies was buttressed five days after the pastoral letter’s release, when the United Nations published its annual “Happiness Index” March 20.
Maintaining a downward trend, India slipped to the 140th position, seven spots down from last year, in this year’s ranking of 156 countries, according to the index.
An acknowledgement by India’s BJP-led government that there has been a rise in religion-based hate crime has coincided with a warning from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) about the dangers to the country of a Hindu-nationalist agenda.
Statistics revealed in India’s parliament on 6 February confirmed a long-standing allegation by rights groups that religious-based violence is growing, as UCA News reported.
Blame for the rise in violence was levelled at Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a 2017 report co-written by the Mumbai-based Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, and the UK-based Minority Rights Group.
The report said: “In recent years there has been rising hostility against India’s religious minorities, particularly since the current right-wing BJP government, promoting Hindu nationalism, took power at the national level after its election in May 2014.”Meeting for their biennial assembly in Bangalore, the CBCI cautioned that attempts to impose Hindu nationalism could imperil the cultural and religious diversity of India.“Any attempt to promote nationalism based on any one particular culture or religion is a dangerous position.
More than 40 cases had taken place in Jaunpur [district] alone.
In the first months of 2019, the region recorded 15 more cases.” Meanwhile, the Catholic Church in the southern state of Kerala — India’s most significant Christian region — released a statement March 26 urging voters to cast their franchise to uphold “secularism” — an indirect criticism of the Hindu nationalism espoused by the BJP.
The CBCI wrote to the Election Commission of India over the clashing of Holy Thursday with the April 18 election date in the states of Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.Despite his caution about speaking out directly regarding such attacks on the Church, Cardinal Gracias minced no words in characterizing the Modi regime as “pro-business and anti-poor.” “We need leaders in India who …