A letter written by the Archbishop of Delhi, Anil Couto, to all priests, has sparked a major controversy with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) taking strong exception to it.
The May 8 letter addressed to all Delhi churches stated that the country's secular fabric was under threat and called for prayers ahead of next year's general elections.
"We are witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our constitution and the secular fabric of our nation," NDTV quoted Archbishop Anil Couto's letter, as stating.
Reacting over the reports about the contentious letter, Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured that minorities are safe in the country. "I have not seen the letter, but I want to say India is one of those countries where minorities are safe and no one is allowed to discriminate on the basis of caste and religion," Rajnath Singh told reporters.
Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working towards inclusive growth and urged spiritual leaders to have a 'progressive mindset'.
"PM is working towards inclusive growth without discriminating while breaking barriers of religion & castes. We can only ask them to think with progressive mindset," Naqvi said.
"Wrong to try and instigate castes/communities. You can tell them to vote for right candidate/party but to suggest to vote for one party and not another & term yourself as secular vs pseudo-secular is unfortunate," BJP spokesperson Shaina NC, added.
However, the Archbishop's office has defended the letter, saying there was nothing political in it.
The Archbishop's letter is not political, neither it is against the Govt or against the honourable PM. Misinformation should not be spread. Its just an invitation for prayers, and such letters have been written in the past too: Father Robinson, Secretary to Archbishop of Delhi pic.twitter.com/YTpCoKq8K0— ANI (@ANI) May 22, 2018
"The Archbishop's letter is not political, neither it is against the Government or against the honourable PM. Misinformation should not be spread. It is just an invitation for prayers, and such letters have been written in the past too," Father Robinson, Secretary to Archbishop of Delhi, told news agency ANI.