The Catholic Association of Nagaland (CAN) has raised doubts about the BJP’s motives regarding its proposal to conduct a cleanliness drive in church compounds across the state on May 11.

CAN is the latest church body in Nagaland to reject the state BJP’s proposal to clean church compounds in the state to mark the death anniversary of Bharatiya Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mookerjee.

“In spite of our desire to view the proposal charitably, CAN cannot help but question the intention of the BJP due to the following reasons – that the general elections for Lok Sabha are ongoing with 5 of the 7 phases remaining, and any ‘unusual proposal by a political party bears the burden of being viewed as an election gimmick,’” CAN stated in a press release on Friday.

It should be noted that Imkong L Imchen, a BJP legislator and advisor in the Peoples’ Democratic Alliance (PDA) government, has also criticized his own party’s proposal.

On the other hand, the BJP claimed that its directive has been “misunderstood.” Nagaland BJP chief Benjamin Yepthomi had earlier directed party functionaries to carry out various programs across the 60 assembly constituencies in the state, including tree plantation on May 4 and cleanliness drives in church compounds on May 11, to mark the death anniversary of Mookerjee, founder of BJP’s precursor Bharatiya Jan Sangh, on June 23.

In response to the proposal, the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC), the Nagaland Joint Christian Forum (NJCF), the Nagaland Christian Revival Church Council, and other church associations have also declined the BJP’s offer.

Nagaland BJP spokesperson Thomas Magh claimed that the party’s proposal has been “misunderstood” as it was not an imposition on anyone but a call to party members to undertake social work in all places of worship.

The BJP clarified that the word “church” was wrongly used in the circular, whereas it should have been “places of worship”, and that it did not intend to demean any religion.

In its press statement, CAN said any plan by a group/party involving another group’s property without consent amounts to, at best, a lack of due respect and, at worst, a disregard of the right to property recognised by the Supreme Court of India as a human right.

“The nation has seen a tremendous rise in atrocities towards Christians in recent years with more than 150 incidents of such violence recorded in the first 3 months of 2024 itself,” CAN said.

It called upon BJP members of the State to earn the goodwill of the people by urging their counterparts in the rest of the country to take positive action against persecution of minorities.

MTNews Desk

6 thoughts on “CAN questions BJP’s intentions amid cleanliness drive proposal in Nagaland churches”
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