BJP not against Christianity or Islam:Advani

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Kottayam, Apr 26 (UNI) Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L K Advani today categorically stated that the BJP was not against Christianity or Islam.

Inaugurating the valedictory function of the Navathy Celebrations of Dr Philipose Mar Chrysostom Valiya Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Church here, Mr Advani said he studied in a Christian school-- St Patrick's School in Karachi--before the partition and could not remember his Christian teachers without a sense of gratitude.

Referring to the reported protest by some people against the Mar Thoma Church inviting him to participate in the valedictory function of the Navathy celebrations of the Valiya Metropolitan, he said it was part of the propaganda that the BJP was anti-Minorities and anti-Christian.

Citing few examples to debunk this 'motivated propaganda', he said BJP's predecessor was the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, which was formed by Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee in 1951.

He was an eminent freedom fighter and served as India's first Industries Minister in Pandit Nehru's Cabinet.

He appointed Barrister V K John as the chief of the Jana Sangh in Madras province. The same propaganda was also there at the time.

Barrister John was asked, 'How can you a Christian, accept to be an office-bearer of a communal party ?' Mr Advani said his answer was forthright, ''I know Dr Mookerjee very well. He cannot be the president of a communal party.'' More UNI VST GM MIR BST2113

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