Sena counters BJP MP: Christians played key role in freedom struggle

Sena counters BJP MP: Christians played key role in freedom struggle

TNN | Jul 16, 2018, 04:35 IST

MUMBAI: Saamna, the Shiv Sena mouthpiece, has in a rare display of communal harmony praised the Christian community for its role in India’s freedom movement. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut’s article in Saamna on Sunday, came in response to city BJP MP Gopal Shetty’s tirade against Christians. 

Raut underscored the contribution of the Christian community to India’s freedom struggle. Vyomesh Chandra Bannerjee, who presided over the inaugural session of the India National Congress in 1885, was a Christian and so was Christodas Pal who wrote a fiery piece in ‘Hindu Patriot’ in 1874, demanding Home Rule for India, said Raut. 

Addressing a public meeting near Malad last week, Shetty had alleged that Christians had kept away from the freedom movement as the British were their co-religionists. Drawing from Father Francis D’Britto’s letter to a city daily in which the priest from Vasai has contested Shetty’s remark, Raut said Kali Charan Bannerjee had set up an organisation of Christians to wage a battle against the British Raj. Moreover, Joseph Baptista, a lawyer from Uttan, near Bhayander, defended Lokmanya Tilak in a sedition case. 

Joseph Dalmet, also from the Nirmal village in Vasai, was a freedom fighter. “Shetty’s knowledge of history is weak,” remarked Raut. “Peter Alvares and F M Pinto from Mumbai were in the forefront of India’s Independence struggle,” he added. 

Raut lauded the Christian community’s role in defence forces since Independence. The Christians from the hilly region of Arunachal Pradesh had given a tough fight to the Chinese in the 1962 war, he recalled. The BJP has an eye on the elections in the north-eastern region which has a large percentage of Christian votes, Raut alleged.

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