Church protests lynching slur
The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) on Thursday condemned RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat for misrepresenting the Bible in his Vijaya Dashami speech, in which he had claimed that “lynching” was a concept alien to India and that it figures in an old story in a religious text from outside the country.
In his speech, Bhagwat had said, “We hear that people of a community beat people from another community…”, but objected to the use of the word lynching to describe such incidents of mob violence.
“By branding such incidents by words like ‘lynching’, denoting traditions which were alien to Bharat and belong elsewhere, efforts are underway to defame our country and the entire Hindu society,” Bhagwat said.
The RSS chief continued: “In this context, there is an old story in a religious text prepared outside. There is no connection of that religion with this but there is an incident in which a village was preparing to stone a woman. Jesus Christ reached there and said, ‘you are stoning her because she is a sinner. Then make sure that the first stone is thrown by the person who has not sinned’. Then everyone realised their mistake.”
Bhagwat asked: “Where is this incident from? Those places have a word for such incidents.”
In a statement, the NCCI on Thursday said: “We are shocked that such statements which have the potential to divide communities on religious lines are made in public fora. This misrepresentation has created suspicion among the people and has humiliated the Christian minority. We appeal to all people not to be carried away by such misrepresentation….”
It added: “The Biblical incident that the Sarsanghchalak mentioned in fact exposes how Jesus stood by a woman who was a victim of patriarchal structures of that time.”
The NCCI said: “It is a known fact that almost all mob lynching incidents target the vulnerable communities in India, including the religious minorities, Dalits, Adivasis, the economically poor and women. Therefore, NCCI request the highest government officials and political leaders of national and state governments as well as leaders of all political parties to condemn such heinous acts and irresponsible public statements so that peace and communal harmony can be maintained in this country.”