Why This Catholic Priest Is Being Projected As India's 'Enemy No 1'

Despite all accusations, Delhi's Archbishop Anil Couto has firmly stood his ground.

A Catholic priest has landed himself in the centre of a political controversy for writing a letter which invited the ire of Hindutva groups. Anil Couto, Archbishop of Delhi wrote the letter on May 13 in which he talked about the current “turbulent political atmosphere”. He also asked people to “pray for the nation” ahead of 2019 polls.

Here’s the letter:

“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.

It is our hallowed practice to pray for our country and its political leaders all the time, but all the more so when we approach the general elections. As we look forward towards 2019 when we will have a new government, let us begin a prayer campaign for our country from May 13,”

Let the poor of our country be provided with the means of livelihood. Let the tribals, Dalits and marginalised be brought into the mainstream of nation-building. Protect our legislature as a place of discerning minds; raise our judiciary as the hallmark of integrity, prudence, and justice. Keep our print, visual and social media as the channels of truth for edifying discourse. Protect our institutions from the infiltrations of the evil forces.”

The letter sparked outrage with BJP and other Hindutva groups finding it instigating. Many alleged that it was a direct “attack on secularism & democracy”. But the Archbishop denied the allegations and stood his ground.

In December last year, India’s top Catholic body had made a similar statement after it said that the country is being ‘polarised due to religious affiliations’. It also said that Christians are ‘losing faith in the government’.