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Indian Catholics in dialogue with leading Hindu group

The Catholic Church in India held a closed-door meeting with the top leadership of Hindu nationalists on Tuesday at the headquarters of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) in New Delhi.

A top three-member team from the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh - National Volunteer Corps) led by its president, KS Sudarshan, visited the CBCI Center for the "introductory meeting," accepting the CBCI "invitation for tea," said Fr Donald de Souza, CBCI deputy secretary general.

RSS which claims to be a social organisation is known as the patron and the ideological force behind the Hindu nationalism most openly represented by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). RSS is widely believed to be behind the relentless anti-Christian propaganda in recent years and the inspiration behind the recent spurt in anti-Christian violence with the emergence of BJP at the national level.

"Both of us (Catholic and RSS) agreed on the need to have more discussions in the future," said Fr de Souza who, along with CBCI secretary general Archbishop Oswald Gracias and CBCI vice president Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi, took part in the hour long "informal" meeting with RSS leaders.

On the content of the discussion, Father de Souza said that the Catholic leaders raised concerns of "increasing attacks and growing hostility" towards Christians, and the RSS leaders replied that these were part of a "political conspiracy to malign the BJP-led government and the RSS."

Catholic Bishops Conference of India

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh