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His remarks echoed concerns raised in many quarters after the BJP government revealed that hate crimes and attacks on religious minorities had been on the rise since the BJP won the 2014 election.“Diversity is one of the strengths of India.It is known the world over for its diversity of culture, language and religion.A month earlier, the Modi government — which swept into office on the campaign slogan (“good days are coming”) and its promise of creating 20 million additional jobs each year — was embarrassed when the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) reported the unemployment rate stood at a 45-year-high of 6.1% in 2017-18.The unemployment rate was higher in urban areas, at 7.8%, compared to 5.3% in rural areas of the country.Recent Examples Last year, the Hindu nationalist dominated-media reacted with hostility after Archbishop Anil Coutto of Delhi issued a “prayer for the nation.” Prominent news channels known for promoting the Hindu nationalist agenda subsequently branded the Church as “unpatriotic” and “anti-national” in unbalanced prime-time debates.
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.
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 …
work for an economy that seeks specially to help the poor and underprivileged, protecting their dignity,” Cardinal Gracias stated in the pastoral letter.
While reiterating that the local Church “wishes to make it clear that they will not support any political front or political party or any candidate,” Archbishop Soosa Pakiam, president of the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC), stated that “the KCBC will be with those who protect democracy and secularism and who will work for the uplift of the country." Maundy Thursday Voting Additionally, the Church has objected to the timing of the election April 18, Maundy Thursday, in several states.
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.
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While Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore, who heads the Catholic Church in the southern state of Karnataka, was the first one to raise the protest, Archbishop Antony Pappusamy, who heads the Tami Nadu Catholic Bishops Council, petitioned his state’s High Court to order the rescheduling of the polls slated for Maundy Thursday.