Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Thursday hit out at the NDA government for rejecting the visa application of Baptist World Alliance chief, Reverend Paul Msiza, to attend the 150 years celebrations of Christianity in the state's Garo Hills region.
"It is highly condemnable to reject the visa application of a global religious leader to attend the sesquicentenary celebrations of Christianity organised by the Garo Baptist Convention. In the past, many religious leaders be it Pope (John Paul II) or Dalai Lama or Sri Sri Ravi Shankar have visited Meghalaya without any objection. We have never opposed any of their visit since we have no hidden agenda," said Sangma, adding the step only demonstrates the hidden agenda of the BJP government against the Christians and other minority religious communities.
The Garo Baptist Convention is celebrating 150 years of Christianity at Rajasimla in East Garo Hills from February 8-11. The Baptist Church set foot in Garo Hills at Rajasimla in 1867.
The BJP, which is trying to unseat the ruling Congress in the Christian-dominated state, said that the issue is being "communalised".
"Why are you giving this a communal and religious angle. Countries like England and Canada reject visas to so many people irrespective of their religion. So does it mean these countries are anti-Christians. Ministry of External Affairs has to follow a standard protocol," said Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons.
Condemning the development, Hill State People's Democratic Party President, Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit said: "BJP is not a secular party.... This is not the first time that the BJP government is not allowing the foreign Christian missionaries to visit India. We do not know why the BJP is so against the Christians communities in India."