Mumbai Catholics write to Cardinal on re-conversion

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Mumbai: 

The catholic community in Mumbai, where the BJP won three seats in the assembly elections, is disappointed with the party because of its ongoing "Ghar Wapsi" program.

The Church in the City (CIC), the political arm of the community, which had met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, state BJP vice president and Shiv Sena leaders in June to seek clarification on the parties' Hindutva agenda and development plank has written a letter to their Archbishop Oswald Cardinal Gracias.

The letter is said to be based on the feedback the community is getting from its members. Addressed to the Archbishop, it states that he should make a strong statement on the issue. The way it's written, it's partly addressed to prime minister Narendra Modi.

"Mr Modi, our PM, we had great faith in you that you will advance the nation towards development and progress. That is the reason we broke our secular traditions and voted you to power. Now, in return, what have we got from you? Your deadly silence while your Sangh Parivar is having a field day," reads the letter.

"We have been backstabbed. When we met them (Fadnavis and Sena leaders), we were convinced of the 'development and progress' agenda towards the community. Now, there is not even a word. The community also needs to strongly come out as there is unease among its members," said Willie Shirsat, chief secretary of CIC who has written the letter.

CIC PRO Savio Joseph said, "Keeping quiet would mean we have not raised the issue. If Archbishop speaks up, it gives a different meaning altogether."

Cardinal Gracias said he will categorically state that “there is no forced conversion within the Catholic Church in India. The Ghar Wapsi programme seems to have elements of 'forced re-conversion'. We strongly disapprove of any attempts to disrupt the peace among communities by such programmes, which are causing anxiety in the minds of community members, threatening to disturb the integrity and harmony of our country."

BJP's city president Ashish Shellar said, "We are not part of Ghar Wapsi nor do we appreciate it. Protection of minorities is the government's priority, we will not let them down. At the same time, freedom of everybody is paramount as per constitution."

Source: DNA

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