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Sangh Parivar criticises Pope's remarks
May 20, 2006 21:19 IST
Pope Benedict XVI earned the wrath of the Sangh Parivar on Saturday for his comments that there were 'disturbing signs of religious intolerance' in India and 'reprehensible attempt' to enact 'discriminatory' laws against 'fundamental right of religious freedom'.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Vishwa Hindu Parishad said on Saturday that the Pope's remarks made while receiving India's new envoy Amitava Tripathi were not relevant to India and 'exposed his ignorance' about traditions and laws in this country.
"There is much more freedom here than in many countries. Freedom of religion does not mean conversions by coercion and allurements," BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar told reporters.
The Pope on Thursday said 'the disturbing signs of religious intolerance which have troubled some regions in the nation (India), including the reprehensible attempt to legislate clearly discriminatory restrictions on the fundamental right of religious freedom, must be firmly rejected'.
He said their rejection was necessary 'as not only unconstitutional, but also as contrary to the highest ideals of India's founding fathers, who believed in a nation of peaceful co-existence and mutual tolerance between different religions and ethnic groups'.
Attacking the pontiff, Javadekar said the state Assemblies had the power to enact such legislations. "Such laws are not against conversion by conviction but if people convert en masse, motives have to be there," he said.