NEW DELHI – Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, Head India Catholic Bishops, has challenged the country to be more concerned about the welfare of its people as it is about its cows.
Cleemis said this on Thursday in New Delhi before visiting the hospitalised nun who was raped at a convent school in West Bengal.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]
The attack has triggered protests on city streets and in parliament.
“The country has a responsibility towards all of us, every human being and not just cows,” he said.
This was directed against hardline Hindu nationalists who have stirred up animosity against India’s Christian and Muslim minorities, while successfully lobbying for tougher laws against killing cows.
Cows are considered sacred by many Indians but beef is eaten by some poor and lower-caste Hindus as well as by Christians and Muslims.
Campaigns to protect cattle are often used to vilify religious minorities.
The western state of Maharashtra banned the selling of beef in February and the northern state of Haryana has since imposed stringent penalties for cow slaughter.
Meanwhile a source said on condition of anonymity that police have not established whether the assault motive was religion or money.
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He said the attack was the most serious in a series of incidents that have spread fear among Christians since activists.
The source said the Indian Christians have emphasised their religion’s long history in India and saying it was an integral part of the country.
He said some Hindu hardliners, however, are seeking to define the country as primarily a Hindu nation, in which other religions are guests.
Cleemis is head of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, an Indian branch of the faith that is in communion with Roman Catholicism. (Reuters/NAN)