Christians in India Hopeful After Elections

Bangalore Archbishop Sees Election as Opportunity for Good Governance

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There may be a different future: made of respect for human rights, dialogue, justice and harmony for Christians in Karnataka, one of the major Indian States. After the local elections on May 5, the Hindu extremist party «Bharatiya Janata Party» (BJP, «Indian People’s Party»), obtained only 40 seats in the Parliament of Karnataka, while the majority went to the Congress party, which obtained 121 seats, out of a total of 223.

In a note sent to Fides News Agency, the Archbishop of Bangalore, Bernard Moras, informs that he met the newly elected head of government, Siddaramaiah, bringing greetings from the Council of Bishops of Karnataka, expressing hope on behalf of all Christians in the area.

The Archbishop stressed the opportunity for Christians to be more involved and present in places of government, public entities and institutions.

Fr. Faustine Lobo, priest of Bangalore and National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in India, explains to Fides Agency: «Today there is more confidence among the population. One can build a new social and religious atmosphere. The BJP was defeated for several reasons: it is divided into various factions; was the protagonist of a bad administration and cases of corruption, even three ministers were arrested; used the approach of ‘communitarianism’, pushing for a policy of division and discrimination against minorities. The people did not like and did not renew confidence in the BJP. Today, the Congress Party has a good opportunity to show a policy of good governance, which could lead to good results, because in a year and a half there will be national elections. The results of the vote in Karnataka are a warning to the BJP and for the entire nation: to foment social and religious unrest does not pay. As a Church we have always promoted and will continue to promote an approach based on dialogue and harmony among different communities. We look forward to a future of peace and development for Christians in Karnataka «.

According to a recent report by the NGO «Catholic Secular Forum», Karnataka is at the apex in cases of inter-communal and inter-religious violence, with more than 1,000 attacks against Christians in 2011, an average of 3-5 attacks per day.

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