Congress condemns denial of Visa to Baptist Church leader from South Africa

Shillong Feb 8: The Congress in Meghalaya on Thursday condemned the NDA government for allegedly denying visa to Dr Paul Msiza who wanted to come to Meghalaya to attend the 150 years of celebration of Baptist Church in Garo Hills.

Congress MP from Shillong, Vincent H. Pala told reporters that he had spoken to officials in the ministry of external affairs and he was informed that the ministry has taken up again with the Indian Ambassador in South Africa.

He said that this was not the first time that Christian Missionaries who wanted to come to India were denied visa by the Central government.

AICC media co-ordinator, Bobbeeta Sharma said that the repeated denial of visa by the BJP government to Christian missionaries to come to Meghalaya should be condemned in the strongest possible term.

“It very well exposes the mindset of the present dispensation, the BJP party and their masters in Nagpur. The saffron brigade will stop at nothing to pursue their agenda of Hindutva. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had even stooped to the level of ridiculing the much revered St Mother Teresa and said that she had ‘ulterior ‘ motive of converting people to Christianity while serving the destitute people. We all know what St. Mother Teresa stood for. She was the embodiment of compassion for the poor and the needy. This clearly reflects the mindset which attacks Churches where people gather for prayers with young children. It is the same mindset that breeds intolerance and attacks people’s eating habits, culture and the spirit and ethos of the Indian Constitution,” he said.

Sharma also said that the people of Meghalaya do not need the leaders of saffron brigade to dictate terms from their headquarters in Nagpur in pursuit of their Hindutva agenda.

The BJP alleged that the issue is being “communalized.

“Why are you giving a communal and religious angle to this issue (visa)?. Countries like England and Canada rejects visas to so many people irrespective of their religion. So does it mean these countries are anti-Christians? Ministry of external affairs has to follow standard protocol,” Union Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons told reporters while countering the Congress allegations.

Alphons said that he had also discussed immediately the matter with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and was informed that she had spoken to the Embassy in South Africa to reconsider Dr Paul’s visit to India.

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