Hindu Party Praises Christians, Muslims in India for Relief Efforts

In a rare expression of solidarity, a right-wing Hindutva group in India today lauded the "commendable" work done by Christian and Muslim missionary organizations in providing relief to the tsunami-affected people in southern India, according to the New Delhi-based India Express news agency.

"The Sangh and its affiliates like Sewa Bharati, Vivekananda Kendra were not the only organizations, but others like Ramakrishna Mission, Christian and Muslim missionary organizations and educational institutions also rose to the occasion and did commendable human service," said a recent editorial by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist movement in India.

Although Sangh Parivar organizations have frequently been critical of Christian and Muslim missionary organizations, accusing them of being engaged in religious conversions, the latest editorial by the RSS was a show of solidarity after the deadliest disaster in almost three decades.

According to Reuters more than 13,000 people are dead or are feared to have died in India from the tsunami that has left almost 150,000 dead across 12 countries, but rescuers are still struggling to assess the toll in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Officials said more than 6,000 people were feared dead in the island chain alone, which is closer to Myanmar and Indonesia than the Indian mainland and is home to more than 350,000 people

The India Express reported that the RSS editorial also made a scathing attack on the manner in which India's United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government handled the post-calamity relief.