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Intolerance Rising In India Under BJP, Says Bhopal Archbishop

BHOPAL – Bhopal Archbishop Father Leo Cornelio on Monday said intolerance had risen in recent times, “especially after BJP came to power at the Centre last year”. Expressing concern about the recent furore over Aamir Khan’s remarks and the alleged attack on a group of Christians reciting the Bible in Jabalpur, the Archbishop said people should respect each other’s views on any issue without resorting to violence.

“I think intolerance has grown in recent times, especially after the new government came at the Centre. Take for example the episode involving actor Aamir Khan, who had shared his wife’s concerns on the issue… the way it was protested against by those associated with politics is not fair,” the Archbishop said at a press conference here.

“Everyone has the right to freedom of speech in the country , and we should not oppose it just for the sake of opposition,” he added.

When specifically asked if, as a leader of the Christian community, he had ever encountered intolerance in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, Cornelio highlighted the alleged Bible incident, which occurred in March.

“It was an avoidable incident. If you are not happy with something like loud voice on a speaker, then you can always request people to lower it. You are not supposed to resort to violent means,” he added, “The government did not take prompt action in the matter. Some people were arrested but a number of them are yet to be.”

A day after the first lot of stones meant for the Ram mandir reached VHP’s office in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh BJP president Laksmikant Bajpai said the party had nothing to do with it, even as he reiterated BJP’s support for the temple’s construction.

Saying that it was a matter of faith, he added that BJP will not raise the issue during the 2017 poll campaign. “BJP can’t answer for VHP. I can’t say why the stones are being moved into Ayodhya,” he said.

VHP HP workers were on Monday booked for ransacking a police station in Shamli, UP. They alleged police inaction in what they claimed is a case of `love jihad’, after a Muslim man (40) and a Hindu girl (22) went missing.

VHP has claimed that the police have falsely booked their workers and threatened to move the NHRC if the case is not withdrawn. They drew parallels with the Kawal eve-teasing case which had prompted the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013.

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