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3 October 2000

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RSS proposes `sarkari' church

By Rajesh Ramachandran

NEW DELHI: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief K S Sudarshan has asked the government to throw out all foreign Christian missionaries from India and establish an indigenous church on the lines of the church in China.

Addressing around 21,000 RSS volunteers at a Vijayadashmi function organised by the organisation's Delhi unit in Raja Garden, Sudarshan also vehemently criticised the government for its economic policies, particularly its dependence on foreign investment.

According to a senior RSS leader who was present at the function, the RSS chief said, ``It is advisable to have a totally Indian church like the one in China and all foreign churches and missionaries should be asked by the government to pack up and go.''

Seeking a completely indigenous church, Sudarshan stated that those who do not believe in the equality of religions should not be allowed to propagate their intolerant religion in India.

The idea of a ``government-sponsored church'' that is being floated by the RSS would obviously imply that Indian churches would have to cut off their links with churches and missionaries elsewhere. For instance, the Catholics would have to sever links with the Vatican.

The RSS wants India to emulate the post-revolution Chinese government, which, according to RSS leaders, threw out all foreign missionaries and established its own version of a Christian church.

According to sources, Sudarshan began his tirade against Christians latching on to the Pope's statement. Apparently, soon after the exhortation of equality of religions by the UN world religious summit, the Pope had averred that Roman Catholicism was the only medium of salvation.

Sudarshan also alleged that the Baptist Church in the North-east is involved in insurgency and driving Bangla-speaking Hindus out of Tripura, forcing Hindus not to observe Durga Puja or wear bindi and bangles.

On the economic front, in a thinly-veiled reference to the bureaucracy, Sudarshan hit out against the government's dependence on foreign investment. According to the sources, Sudarshan said, ``We have the talent and resources to achieve our development, but the bureaucracy is accustomed to welcoming foreign investment.''

Describing the World Trade Organization as the `Western Trade Organisation', Sudarshan said the World Bank and the IMF are but tools of the western countries to strengthen their imperialist designs in the post-colonial era.

The government was not spared even on the issue of hike in the prices of petroleum products. In an oblique reference, Sudarshan said the bureaucracy is impeding the development of petroleum substitutes which could save the country Rs 23,500 crore. He also pointed out that the government, the biggest consumer of petrol, should further tighten its belt and asked why people's representatives needed so many escorts and so much security.

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