25 October, 2020

The Papal Test

The BJP government may have succeeded in reining in the VHP this time, but for how long?

The Papal Test

It's been a narrow squeak, but the Vajpayee government's handling of the controversy around the visit of Pope John Paul II to India - its first major test - seems to be working. Assuming, of course, there's no madcap attempt to disrupt the pontiff's engagements in Delhi - which include an address to the Asian Synod of Bishops at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, a Holy Mass at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and a meeting with representatives of all religions at Vigyan Bhawan.

In fact, even as the Goa-to-Delhi protest yatra by a Sangh parivar-backed outfit was prevented from entering Madhya Pradesh on Thursday, senior leaders, from Vajpayee and Advani to Jaswant Singh, were busy trying to stand firm against any attempt to disrupt or criticise the Pope's visit. Yet, the protests - though enfeebled - seemed to persist. And the government's hands will only be full if it can't rein in organisations thinking of launching an ad campaign raising questions they want the Pope to answer.

For, even as the government works overtime to ensure that the papal visit goes without a hitch and is...



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