New Delhi, Oct 13 : A full blown war of words is raging between Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) supremo Mohan Bhagwat and a top Catholic body over guess what -- who invented the word "lynching".
Taking umbrage to Bhagwat's remarks dissociating the Hindu community with rising incidents of mob lynching in the country and instead linking the term to Christianity, the All India Catholic Union (AICU) has issued a detailed statement lashing out at both the RSS and the country's ruling BJP and questioned Bhagwat's "political intentions" behind the remark.
At the foundation day function of the RSS on October 8, Bhagwat had spoken at length about the phenomenon of mob lynching. "No one from the Sangh gets into such troubles. If some such thing is about to happen, they in fact try to stop it.
Calling any association between Hinduism and lynching "a conspiracy", Bhagwat said the word comes from an incident in the Bible. According to him, once Jesus Christ asked people to hit a woman with stones, but only if they had never committed any sin themselves.
The influential Christian body hit back saying the purported association between the Bible and lynching made by Bhagwat, was to "denigrate Christianity and shift the focus from the rash of lynching of Dalits and religious minorities by gangs, who claim to be protectors of the cow".
Suggesting that the RSS supremo didn't have a correct reading of the Bible, the AICU explained the event that Bhagwat referred to in order to hyphenate lynchings from Hinduism.
"The episode of the woman whom Jesus stops from being lynched by a mob in Israel of those times is a crucial one in the New Testament. She would have been lynched by the self-righteous mob, which in a kangaroo court justice, wanted to punish her. She would be dead had Jesus not intervened. He rebuked the mob saying only a person who had never committed a sin could judge her, and cast the first stone. The mob melted away," elaborated the organisation.
Not just Bhagwat, the AICB also accused the BJP and Home Minister Amit Shah of "targeting religious minorities". "The targeting of religious minorities has become the stock in trade of the BJP chief, now also the country's Home Minister, whose snide and scurrilous terms for them have been 'termites' and 'enemies'," it said.
Suggesting that the Prime Minister was willfully not taking any action against Bhagwat or Shah for their comments, it said, "Mr Modi is beholden both to the RSS and to Mr Amit Shah for his electoral successes". It also asked the PM to "show" that he can "punish the highest in the land".
(Anindya Banerjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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-- The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text