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Hindu group criticizes Pope for 'challenging pluralism'. (World).

NEW DELHI -- Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right-wing Hindu group that is closely tied to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, has accused Pope John Paul II of challenging the country's pluralism with his remarks against anti-conversion laws in the country (NCR World Briefs, June 6) and has asked the government to register a protest with the Holy See.

A spokesman for the group, Ram Madhav, told a news conference June 6 the pope's statement was "misplaced" and amounted to "a total disregard for India's cultural plurality."

Madhav justified the laws against conversion as necessary, alleging that Christian missioners have been "aggressively wooing the poor with allurements." He said Christian missionaries cause "tensions" and pose "a serious threat to peace and harmony" in India.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the World Hindu Council, considered the religious wing of the RSS, also criticized the pope.

Under the Indian Constitution, the country is secular and treats all religions equally. The RSS leads the movement to make India a Hindu nation. Opposition parties and others accuse the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of carrying out attacks on Christians and Muslims.
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Author:Coday, Dennis
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jun 20, 2003
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