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Catholic charity threatens India's security, says Hindu group

Caritas India’s work among tribal people and Dalits or former untouchables does not auger well with Hindu groups
Caritas India’s humanitarian activities among India’s downtrodden people have always invited the wrath of pro-Hindu groups.

Caritas India’s humanitarian activities among India’s downtrodden people have always invited the wrath of pro-Hindu groups. (Photo: caritasindia.org)

Published: April 01, 2024 12:13 PM GMT
Updated: April 01, 2024 12:20 PM GMT

A pro-Hindu group has demanded a federal probe into the activities of Caritas India, the social service organization of the national Catholic bishops' conference, saying they threaten India's national, social, and economic security.

The Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF), which is aligned with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has written to the federal home ministry, seeking a probe into the activities of the social service organization of the  Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.

Its activities “are a threat to the national, social and economic security of Bharat [India],” LRPF stated on March 21 on social media feeds.

A Caritas India official, who did not want to be named told UCA News on April 1, that "these are false allegations. We comply with government norms in letter and spirit.” 

In its March 21 complaint, the pro-Hindu group sought to cancel Caritas India’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) license, which is necessary to receive donations from outside the country.

“Caritas India is raising funds from abroad through the FCRA channel in the name of various welfare activities,” the forum accused.

The federal home ministry is in charge of the FCRA registrations. Several NGOs in India are facing increasing scrutiny and cancellation of their FCRA licenses since the BJP came to power in 2014.

The Hindu group's complaint said Caritas India is projecting tribal people and Dalits as “the only poor in India.”

The focus on these two groups, who together make up nearly 26 percent of India’s 1.4 billion people, is “to divide society,” it accused.

The economic incentives from the Catholic charity are "being utilized to motivate tribal people and Dalits to abandon their ancestral faiths" to embrace Christianity, it alleged.

“Frequent visits are conducted by Caritas India’s global partners like Caritas Australia to India to monitor the nation’s mineral resources and to create social disharmony through religious conversions,” it noted in the complaint.

Conversion of tribal people and Dalits mostly take place in the central Indian states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh where they have a strong presence, the NGO noted.

Dalits and tribal people, who follow their traditional worship practices, are grouped as Hindus under India’s Census, a practice started by colonial British officers for practical administrative purposes.

The Caritas India official said the complaint "seems to be an attempt to create discord and confusion among people during the general election.” 

The seven-phased national polls to elect members of India's 543-seat parliament will start on April 19 and conclude on June 1. The results will be declared on June 4.

Modi and his BJP are seeking a third consecutive term in office.

Christians make up a mere 2.3 percent of India's population, about 80 percent Hindu.

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