Mumbai: A recent advertisement released by yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali brand of products on national television depicting the holy Cross while urging Indians to boycott foreign products, has left the Catholic community in Mumbai fuming.
Stating that it may incite hatred against Christians and lead to attacks on churches and Christian institutions, the Indian Christian Voice (ICV) has written to President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other departments seeking a ban on the commercial.
Stating that Baba Ramdev is resorting to divisive politics in the name of religion, ICV president Dr Abraham Mathai, said, “In the commercial, Baba Ramdev has depicted the Cross, the very symbol of the Christian faith, and called upon Indians to boycott all foreign products. The commercial has the potential to destroy the very moral and secular fabric of India, eventually disrupting communal harmony. We have petitioned the president, prime minister, finance minister, minister for information and broadcasting, minister for corporate affairs and Advertising Standard Council of India demanding that this commercial advertisement be withdrawn forthwith and banned immediately from being screened on any public domain.”
“The Christian community has no objections to the boycott he seeks, but we strongly object to the misuse of the Cross in the ad. The commercial has smartly depicted the Cross to show the British rule in India, in a bid to enable Baba Ramdev to arguably propagate his agenda of targeting a particular minority community. Such demagoguery will definitely result in increased attacks on churches,” he added.
Dr Mathai said, the Christians understands that Baba Ramdev may not understand free and fair trade regulations when he asks Indians to boycott foreign goods, but the community expects him to understand how to respect the faith persuasions of fellow Indians.
Despite repeated attempts, Acharya Balkrishna, one of the partners of Patanjali Ayurved, was unavailable for comment. There was also no response to a message seeking his comment on the objection raised by the Christians.
At the same time, an executive from the Patanjali helpline, refused to share contact of the authorities and asked this correspondent to print this article without Patanjali’s version.