Indias regjering ønsker paven velkommen trass i protester

Hindu Fundamentalists Launch Internet Page Against Visit

NEW DELHI, OCT 31 (ZENIT).- In spite of the threats of Hindu fundamentalist groups close to the government coalition, the Indian government, led by moderate nationalist Hindu Atal Behari Vajpayee, promised a real welcome to John Paul II, who will visit the capital from November 5-8.

"As host country, we shall fulfill our obligations in regard to the provision of installations and security," Raminder Singh Jassal said to the press. Singh Jassal is India's Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Over the last few days, Hindu groups have reiterated their demands that the Pope apologize for what they describe as atrocities linked to religious conversions. The Rashtriya Swayasemsevak Sangh, an influential movement among Hindu nationalists, said ironically that its sympathizers in the United States launched a site on Internet today entitled, "Welcome to the Pope." Among other things, the site, which was established by the Global Hindu Electronic Network, will discuss the "threat" that religious conversions represent and will protest, in particular, against the United States' Southern Baptist Convention, accused of proselytism.

For his part, Surendra Jain, leader of the Bajrang Dal, said to the press that the government made a mistake in inviting the Pope. His organization has requested a meeting with the Pope to exact an admission of guilt on past actions of the Church. "We want an apology. If he doesn't accept (the request), we shall launch our next phase of agitation," Jain said without giving details. "We urge the government not to show any form of hospitality to the Pope," he concluded.

John Paul II is going to India to give the Apostolic Exhortation "Church in Asia," which includes the conclusions of the Synod of Bishops for that continent, which was held in the Vatican in April-May, 1998.



av Webmaster publisert 02.11.1999, sist endret 02.11.1999 - 21:34