'Padmavati' row: The government must check communal Polarization, says Catholic Union

Updated: Nov 21, 2017, 09:48 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Catholic Union meet highlights increasing communal polarization in country

The All Indian Catholic Union (AICU) a 98-year-old federation, held a meet at the Press Club at Azad Maidan yesterday afternoon.

(From left) Dolphy D'Souza and John Dayal. Pics/Bipin Kokate
(From left) Dolphy D'Souza and John Dayal. Pics/Bipin Kokate

The meet focused on 'unabated lynching, hate speeches, inciting violence and the government's failure to check communal polarization.' John Dayal, official spokesman of the AICU, shed light on the blazing Padmavati controversy, saying, "The demand for bans is one thing. It is the levels to which this has been taken, where individuals are openly offering money to kill and main artistes, which is truly alarming. This has never been seen in the past." Dayal added that the government needs to speak out against this. When there is silence, it is construed as "tacit support" and "Narendra Modi too, needs to speak up," he said.

Rosary tax
The AICU also said there was a "12 per cent GST on rosaries (wooden prayer beads)" and demanded that GST be removed from all religious symbols of every religion. These are symbols of god and should be free from manmade taxes," said Dayal. The discussion then moved on to lynching. Dolphy D'Souza, former president of the Bombay Catholic Sabha (BCS) said, "Lynching has become a norm and gau rakshaks have become a law unto themselves. It is time to stop polarizing people."

The meet was then thrown open for questions, and ones on the link between Catholicism and conversion came up. How are the leaders going to break this stereotype? Dayal said people needed to be more aware of the laws, "If you see somebody being converted by force or fraud, file a case and we will support you in court."

Prickly questions
Some belligerent questions with intentions to bait were thrown to the spokesperson about whether they gave the green light to Padmavati and if so, were they not going against Indian culture? "We are against violence of any sort and incitement to injure and kill. This is not about being for or against the film," D'Souza and Dayal said strongly.

When asked about the perceived link between the community and Naxals, Dayal once again said they were against "violence in any name," while D'Souza did admit that, "We do work for the poor, it is for that reason that people say we are linked, but that is not true." Following this question answer session, the meet ended.

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Percentage of GST levied on wooden rosaries

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