A group of Hindu extremists trampled a photo of Pope Francis near Sacred Heart Cathedral in New Delhi in a controversial video calling for a Christian-free India which was recently posted online.
The video that became viral on social media, shows a mob of 20 people chanting “Pope Francis murdabad,” meaning “down with Pope Francis,” following a speech by a man believed to be the controversial Hindu leader Om Swami Maharaj.
Muharaj threatened to forcefully to expel Christians from India.
The hate campaigns increased after Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi wrote a letter calling for a one year prayer campaign leading up to India’s 2019 general elections, according to Crux.
“We are witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation,” read the letter.
The archbishop’s letter quickly harnessed criticism from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Several BJP leaders condemned the letter, calling it a “divisive move.” Muharaj accused Christians of promoting terrorism.
On May 23, BJP parliamentarian, Subramanian Swamy, called for India to end all diplomatic relations with the Vatican.
In the letter, the archbishop had also called for one meal fasting on every Friday for the next year for the spiritual renewal of the nation.
In an interview with Asian News International he said, “In all churches and institutions we pray and fast. I’m not meddling in partisan politics. We’re just praying that nation should walk in right direction.”