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Indian Catholic priest suspended for joining the Pro-Hindu Party

Father Kuriakose Mattam of the Idukki diocese of the Eastern Rite Syro-Malabar Church in South India was temporarily suspended from all his ministries on October 2, 2023, after joining the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is accused of tacitly supporting anti-Christian activities.

Father Jins Karackatt, diocesan public relations officer, said, "The priest, who was serving as a parish priest, has been asked to move to the diocesan home for elderly priests."

Father Kaarackatt told UCA News, "Mattom has been suspended from parish ministry" as a "temporary measure.”

The Diocese acted after seeing a picture of Mattam becoming a party member on the party's social media platforms.

BJP leaders claimed in media reports that Mattom doesn't consider the party anti-Christian and joined it because of its development work.

It's widely believed that Mattom was suspended because he joined the BJP, a party that is perceived as anti-Christian.

According to Father Karackatt, Mattam was suspended for joining a political party that is "totally against the rules of the Church."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has led the party since 2014, and he intends to run for a third term in the general elections next year.

It is alleged that Modi allows pro-Hindu groups to vandalize churches and disrupt prayer meetings across the country in order to gain support for his party.

According to the United Christian Forum, an ecumenical body based in New Delhi that records anti-Christian persecution in India, 525 cases of violence have been reported so far this year, compared to 505 cases in 2022.

In northeastern Manipur, where tribal Christians are being targeted by Hindus, this year's figures do not include rape incidents.

Since May 3, nearly 200 people have been killed, over 300 churches have been destroyed, and over 50,000 people have been uprooted from the hilly state.

More than 520 Christians have been arrested for violating the stringent law in eleven Indian states, most of which are ruled by the BJP.

Foreign funding to Christian groups and mission stations was reduced in 2020 under Modi's amendment to the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

More than 16,000 non-governmental organizations have had their license to use the FCRA to receive foreign funds canceled by the pro-Hindu government since 2014.

Since it doesn't have a representative in the state parliament, his party has been working to increase its election chances in Kerala, south India.


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