Catholics in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have expressed their grave concern over threats made against Christian schools by the Hindu fundamentalist group Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad (Abvp).
According to L’Osservatore Romano, this group is “the youth branch of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the extremist party that holds a majority in the current government.”
LOR reports that one of the party’s representatives said, “The schools that engage in anti-national acts will be identified and denounced to the police and the government.” The group accuses Christian schools of not allowing students to sing the national song or the national anthem.
Father Cajetan D’Mello, president of the Indore Catholic Schools Association, said the charges are baseless as the “national hymn or song is sung with the children on a regular basis” in Christian schools.
The national song, which is different from the national anthem, “was composed in remembrance of the independence from Great Britain and contains implicit references to the religion and culture of Hindus. Father D’Mello noted that Christian schools ‘defend the national traditions of India’.”