Congress's apology to Christians over now-deleted post mocking PM-Pope meeting

A post by the Congress's Kerala unit mocking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with Pope Francis on the sidelines of the G7 summit drew widespread condemnation. The party later deleted the post and issued an apology.
Congress's apology to Christians over now-deleted post mocking PM-Pope meeting
Photo: PTI

A sarcastic post by the Congress party's Kerala unit on social media, mocking a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pope Francis at the G7 summit in Italy, has sparked outrage from the BJP.

The post, which has since been deleted, featured a picture of PM Modi with the Pope and the comment, "Finally, the Pope got a chance to meet God!" This was a reference to PM Modi's previous statement that he was convinced he was "sent by God" for a purpose.

The BJP was immediately on the warpath as it strongly condemned the post, accusing the Congress of insulting both PM Modi and the Pope.

Kerala BJP president K Surendran tweeted, "The @INCIndia Kerala 'X' handle, seemingly run by radical Islamists or Urban Naxals, continues to post derogatory and humiliating content against nationalistic leaders. Now, it has even stooped to mocking the respected Pope and the Christian community."

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Congress's apology to Christians over now-deleted post mocking PM-Pope meeting

He called out Congress heavyweights like party chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi and general secretary KC Venugopal, and questioned whether they endorsed such utterances.

Kerala BJP general secretary George Kurian said the post was offensive and hurtful to religious sentiments, particularly in Kerala, where Christianity is the third-largest practised religion.

BJP IT Cell in-charge Amit Malviya alleged that the Congress has a history of denigrating other faiths and demanded an apology from former Congress president Sonia Gandhi, a Catholic.

"After mocking the Hindus and deriding their faith, the Islamist-Marxist nexus in the Congress has now come down to insulting the Christians. This, when Sonia Gandhi, the longest serving Congress President, herself is a practising Catholic. She must apologise to the believers," Malviya posted on X.

In response, the Congress cited Pope Francis' statement that it is not heresy to joke about God. "When you manage to make intelligent smiles gush from the lips of even one spectator, you make even God smile. Pope Francis said this on Friday, 14th June on the same day after he met Narendra Modi," the party tweeted.

Tagging K Surendran and George Kurian, the grand old party sarcastically added, “Better luck next time.”

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee Vice-President VT Balram defended the post, saying it was satirical and aimed at exposing the "shallowness" in PM Modi's public relations efforts. "It’s Modi himself who claimed that he is not normal human being but sent by God. This particular tweet is satirical."

Amid mounting backlash, the Congress's Kerala unit deleted the post and apologised for causing "any emotional or psychological distress to Christians".

In a statement, it clarified that it does not intend to insult any religion or religious figures. However, it maintained that political figures, including PM Modi, are not exempt from criticism.

“No Congress worker would even entertain the remotest thought of insulting the Pope, whom Christians around the world see as God-like. However, the Congress has no qualms about mocking Narendra Modi, who insults the believers of this country by calling himself God,” the Kerala Congress said.

The Congress also challenged the BJP to apologise to the Christian community for failing to act when churches were burned during ethnic violence in Manipur.

“We also know that the Prime Minister has been keeping a studied silence on Manipur, where the minorities have been persecuted, places of worship destroyed. Minorities faced persecution in Assam and Northeast and the PM has not uttered a word. We are calling out the hollowness of the PM towards the minority community and this camaraderie and this diplomacy [with the Pope] doesn't mean anything serious by the PM towards the Christian community,” said Congress spokesperson Mathew Anthony.

Source: India Today

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