Panaji: Indian democracy is under threat from "pseudo-nationalism" and "Right-wing fanaticism masquerading as nationalism", a column published in Renovacao, a Goa Church periodical, has said.
"Quo Vadis India?" by Father Savio Fernandes in the latest edition of the pastoral bulletin of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, also bemoans efforts to make India a "Hindu Rashtra" by 2020 and rues the "political rhetoric" which is triggering hate crimes against Dalits and members of the minority community.
"Competition for political and economic power has encouraged pseudo-nationalism, which uses religion as a tool to gain acceptance," Fernandes said in the column.
He heads the Council for Social Justice and Peace, the social arm of Goa's influential Roman Catholic Church, which is the religious and spiritual leader of more than 26 per cent of the state's Catholic population.
"This is an important turning point in India's politics, because after being dominated for several decades by Left-leaning policies, the political space is now being rapidly cornered by Right-wing fanaticism masquerading as anationalism'.
"From the much talked about pluralism and diversity being the hallmark of the Indian nation, there are attempts to impose one culture, one religion, one language ideology - a Hindu Rashtra by 2022 which marks the 75th anniversary of our nation's independence," the column stated.
The contents of another column written by FE Noronha and published in the same Church magazine, which likened contemporary India to Nazi Germany, had gone viral on Friday.
The magazine's contents have triggered interest in Goa, where Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is contesting the Panaji by-poll on 23 August.
Noronha's article also indirectly exhorts voters of Panaji to not vote for Parrikar by arguing, that ballots should not be cast in favour of those who "show no sign of distinct backbone or character and evidently agree with the nationwide fascism".
Although Parrikar refrained from commenting on the allegation, he said that there were "contradictions" in the article.
Fernandes' column however makes a broad critique of the political and social discourse in the country, claiming that efforts were being made to instill fear among Dalits and minorities.
"Of late, the political rhetoric amply demonstrates the rise of such thinking which spills over into hate crimes against the Dalits and minority communities to instill a sense of fear and bully opposing views into a corner," his article said.
The constitution, the Catholic priest says, is under threat from "Right-wing" ideology, which coincides with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ascent to power.
"With the political climate change after the year 2014, the very guiding purpose and principles spelt in the preamble of the Indian constitution - Democratic, Secular, Socialist and Republic - appear to be under the worse threat for the first time after independence."
This is not the first time, that the Church in Goa has made serious accusations against the functioning of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Goa as well as in other parts of the country.
"Christians and Muslims are especially targets of demonisation through false propaganda. Muslims are portrayed as terrorists and loyal to Pakistan while Christians are portrayed as being agents of Portugal and anti-nationals and seeking to convert members of other religious communities through fraud/ inducement," a statement issued by Fernandes' Council for Social Justice and Peace had said in July.
Updated Date: Aug 19, 2017 13:43 PM