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Gujarat elections: Gandhinagar archbishop gets EC notice over controversial letter

By Deepika

The Election Commission in Gujarat has sent notice to the Archbishop of Gandhinagar, Thomas Macwan, for his controversial letter asking Christians to pray to save the country from "nationalist forces" in the run-up to the Gujarat Assembly polls.

Archbishop Thomas Macwan

Issuing a letter addressed to the Christians, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Gandhinagar, Thomas Macwan, had last week urged the members of the community to save the country from "nationalist forces" as its "democratic fabric" was at stake, amidst a growing "sense of insecurity" among the minorities. In Gujarat's political circles, the appeal was seen as an indirect call to vote against the ruling BJP.

Gandhinagar Collector and District Election Officer Satish Patel told PTI that the EC issued the notice after taking cognizance of media reports and asked the archbishop to clarify his intention behind issuing such a letter.

In an official communique dated November 21, Macwan had appealed to the Christians to organise prayer services at parishes and convents, "so that we may have such people elected to the Gujarat Assembly, who would remain faithful to the Indian Constitution and respect every human being without any sort of discrimination".

"The democratic fabric of the country is at stake amidst a growing sense of insecurity among the minorities, other backward classes (OBC), backward classes, poor etc.," he had said.

"The results of this election are significant and will have repercussions and reverberations throughout our beloved nation. It will influence the future course of our country. "We are aware that the secular and democratic fabric of our country is at stake.

Human rights are being violated. The constitutional rights are being trampled. Not a single day goes without an attack on our churches, church personnel, faithfuls or institutions," he said.

In the letter, the archbishop had also cited examples of how such prayers saved Europe during the victory at Lepanto, referring to the battle of 1571, in which the Holy League of Venetian and Spanish empires had defeated the Ottoman Empire in the Gulf of Patras, and how the "protecting hand of our beloved Mother Mary defeated communist governments and dictators in a number of countries".

OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)

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