(Agenzia Fides) – The news relaunched by some newspapers that the Hindu nationalist group “Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh” (RSS, “National Volunteer Corps”) intends to initiate dialogue with the Catholic Church and Christian groups has created an intense debate in India. According to information circulating, Indresh Kumar, member of the National Council of the RSS, said he wanted to “build bridges of good will with minority communities”, such as Christians and Muslims in India.
The RSS is a group spread all over the country, responsible for acts of violence, destruction, murders and massacres of Christians. It is animated by Hindutva ideology that “only wants a Hindu India”, eliminating traces of other religions.
His Exc. Mgr. Sarat Chandra Nayak, Bishop of Berhampur, Orissa state, said in a statement sent to Fides: “The Church must engage in dialogue at all levels to ensure justice and peace. Dialogue serves to eliminate doubts and misgivings. Church does not just mean the clergy; every believer should be a promoter of dialogue. We have to keep our door open”.
Another Catholic leader who prefers anonymity, told Fides: “The RSS is responsible for many attacks against Christians over the decades. Yet the Christian faithful have not abandoned their religion. Now the RSS could initiate a strategy of co-optation, and then strike hard at the appropriate time. One must be very cautious”.
Dhirendra Panda, an activist for human rights in Bhubaneswar, in Orissa, the scene of vast anti-Christian massacres perpetrated by Hindu militants, told Fides: “Having a dialogue with RSS would give them undue legitimacy, penalizing secular and democratic institutions and organizations. If Christians support the RSS, this would create division in the Christian communities and would marginalize many independent thinkers and intellectuals. This is basically what RSS wants”.
Wilfred D’Costa, a member of the Indian Social Forum, who works for social and religious harmony, explains: “The RSS is a political organization with fascist ideology. It has nothing spiritual or religious; it uses religion as a mask. Dialogue with a violent and militant organization like RSS means playing with fire. The Church should join with people who believe in the values of secularism and democracy, in order to strengthen tolerance and harmony”.