ALAN BASIL DE LASTIC
For the besieged Christian community in India, there was more bad news last month, although at least this one had nothing do with Hindu fundamentalists. In a sad turn of fate, Alan Basil de Lastic, the Archbishop of New Delhi, met his end in a car accident in the Polish capital of Warsaw, on 20 June. The late Lastic was also the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India.
In what were to be his last days, the man of the cloth was terribly concerned about the wellbeing of his flock, given the rumblings of violence against Christians by extremist Hindu groups. In his last interview, the priest had told the magazine Outlook, "Today I feel ashamed to be an Indian. When I see what is happening to the Christian community I worry about India's future."
One of the last meetings of the priest was with the Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, when he led a delegation of the Christian community to apprise the leader of the wrongs being perpetrated on India's Christians. Whether that meeting would go some way in reining in the saffron fundamentalists, is anybody's guess. If it does, at least up there, Alan Basil de Lastic, would not feel ashamed of having been an Indian.