Archbishop's letter marks dangerous trend: BJP

Archbishop's letter marks dangerous trend: BJP

The BJP on Tuesday hit out at the Goa and Daman archbishop for his claim that the Constitution was in danger, saying it was a "political appeal" by a religious head which marked a "new dangerous trend".

BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav said the Delhi archbishop had earlier spoken out on similar lines and asserted that the two would set in motion a precedent that did not augur well for Indian democracy.

Archbishop of Goa and Daman Father Filipe Neri Ferrao had in a letter said the Constitution was in danger and most of the people were living in insecurity.

"As heads of religious institutions, they must bless all. The distance between a religious institution & politics should be maintained," Yadav said in a series of tweets.

In a swipe at the Goa archbishop, he referred to the proclamation of the Emergency in 1975 and said his office did not see any threat to the Constitution then when it was in danger.

'They are now choosing to speak for political and not religious sections. Religious institutions controlling politics & political opinion happen in theocratic state which was rejected centuries ago," Yadav said.

The BJP leader wondered what would happen if heads of other religious denominations followed the archbishop’s example and started making similar appeals.

He said both archbishops might have written their letters in general terms, but their message had not been lost.

"After the political letter written by the Archbishop of Delhi, his counterpart in Goa has expressed a similar view. It's a political appeal by a religious head which marks a new dangerous trend in Indian politics. India isn't a theocratic state. It doesn't distinguish on basis of religion. India is world’s largest democracy. It's governed by one of the most liberal constitutions of the world," he said.

The very fact that archbishops have expressed their criticism is the best evidence of free speech, he said.