Gujarat Poll Commission Takes Note Of Archbishop's Letter, Sends Notice

As people questioned the propriety of the church speaking on political matters on social media, Archbishop of Gandhinagar Thomas Macewan said his letter was "merely an appeal to pray.

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Gujarat Poll Commission Takes Note Of Archbishop's Letter, Sends Notice

Thomas Macwan has been Archbishop of Gandhinagar for the last two years

Ahmedabad:  The Election Commission in Gujarat has sent notice to the Archbishop of Gandhinagar, Thomas Macwan, for his letter which spoke repeatedly against what he called "nationalist forces" -- seen as a reference to the state's ruling BJP. The letter, addressed to senior churchmen, said their prayers can "save our country from nationalist forces".

The letter by Fr Macwan, dated November 21, read, "Nationalist forces are on the verge of taking over the country. The elections of Gujarat State Assembly can make a difference!"

Addressed to "Your Eminences, Graces and Lordships", the letter further said: "The secular and democratic fabric of our country is at stake. Human Rights are being violated. The constitutional rights are being trampled. Not a single day goes without an attack on our churches, faithful or institutions. There is a growing sense of insecurity among the minorities, OBCs, BCs, poor and so on."

As people questioned the propriety of the church speaking on political matters on social media, the Archbishop said his letter wasn't meant for the public and was "merely an appeal to pray."

Macwan told NDTV that this is not the first time such a letter has been written.

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"Whenever we have had elections in the past we always tried to guide our people and we always encouraged them to go for their voting and also we tell them to choose their leader according to their conscience... And it (the letter) was not meant to be given for the public; it was mainly meant for the people to pray," he said.

Christians are a very small segment of voters in Gujarat -- 0.51 per cent, who are traditionally known to have backed the Congress in the assembly elections. Thomas Macwan has been the Archbishop of Gandhinagar for the last two years

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