Resolve Maoist issue through talks, says archbishop
The Maoist issue in West Bengal could be resolved through a process of dialogue, Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Kolkata has said.
By initiating humanitarian service in the affected areas, the rebels can be brought to the negotiating table, he said yesterday.
“Our solution to the (Maoist) problem is one of prayer, reconciliation and service,” he said replying to a query on whether the Church had any solution to the Maoist issue.
“The Church’s work in education and healthcare can help bring about reconciliation and pave the way for a dialogue.”
He said the Church’s missions in West Midnapore were doing well in Maoists areas and were quite reconciled with the people there.
However, he lamented that the Church has not been able to reach out to Maoists active in the deep jungles of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts.
He was talking to the media on the sidelines of the Regional Mission Congress.
On Pope Benedict XVI’s remark that communism had lost relevance in the world, Archbishop D’Souza said “whether communism or Christianity, the love for the poor is common to both. But (Communist) methodology to achieve this may be irrelevant.”
Asked to comment on CPI(M) Politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai’s reported call to the Catholic Church to collaborate with the party in improving the lives of the poor, he said, “We believe whoever is not against us, with us.”
He said late Marxist leader Jyoti Basu and Mother Teresa both treated each other with respect because both had concerns for the poor.
“The Church is not against working with others in improving lives of the poor.”
Earlier, Apostolic Nuncio Salvatore Pennachhio celebrated Mass to mark the close of the Mission Congress.
It was attended by bishops, priests and laity from the diocese of Asansol, Bagdogra, Baruipur, Kolkata, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Krishnagar and Raigunj.