INDIA: GOVERNMENT MUST TAKE ACTION AS CHRISTIANS REEL UNDER ‘JANUARY OF TERROR’ BY SANGH THUGS, COMMUNALISED POLICE
Dr. John Dayal
Member: National Integration Council
Government of India
National President: All India Catholic Union (Founded 1919)
Secretary General: All India Christian Council (Founded 1999)
President: United Christian Action, Delhi (Founded 1992)
505 Link, 18 IP Extension, Delhi 110092 India
31 January 2006
Indian Government must take action as Christians reel under ‘January of Terror’ by Sangh thugs, communalised police
Dr John Dayal, Laity spokesman and Member, National Integration Council, has made an urgent appeal to Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil to take decisive steps to instill confidence in the Christian community which is reeling under a combine of violence by Sangh parivar thugs and elements of state police who have arrested and tortured preachers and common people in several states. The following is the text of Dr John
"Dear Mr. Patil
Greetings on behalf of the Christian organisations I have the honour to represent.
We recall your strong statement at the inaugural meeting of the National Integration Council on 31 August 2005, on the Union Government’s resolve to curb and contain hate campaigns and violence against religious minorities. Steps taken by the Central government including setting up of various Commissions gave us hope that Government was serious in restoring the confidence of the minorities that had been so rudely shattered in the six years of the Bharatiya Janata party regime in New Delhi. We were conscious of the fact that the BJP was still in control of many states – and the umber has grownto include even Karnataka and Bihar now – but we had hoped the Central promise of peace would carry weight.
The attack on the well beloved Catholic Scholar-Bishop Thomas Dabre of Vasai Diocese, near Mumbai, has shocked our community which was already reeling under the terror unleashed in the Dangs of Gujarat by the Hindutva forces, assaults in Orissa and acts of terror in other states.
Bishop Dabre, children of the Suryodaya Ashram and the priests of the area remain vulnerable even as he culprits, surely identified by now, mock the police and the administration. Bishop Dabre, Fathers Oneil Faroz, Philip Vaz and Andrew Rodrigues were inaugurating the Suryodaya Ashram, a hostel for the tribal children in the Ghosali Village, Mukada Taluka on January 29 at around 1.30 p.m. when they were attacked by a hundred or more Bajrang Dal and Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad armed with staves and rods. The local villagers, who repulsed the attack,prevented a tragedy.
In Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh, on the eve of Republic Day, a prayer meeting in Chapri village was attacked and two tribal pastors beaten up by Policemen of the state government. The pastors were later tortured in the police station.
In Jabalpur in the same state, three leaders of the Church of Nazrene were arrested on Republic Day, Thursday the 26th January 2006 allegedly for forcibly converting tribals – while the city as indeed the rest of the country was under absolute security blanket!!!
In Orissa which has seen other state violence against tribals, Christians have been a particular target. In village Matiapara, under Bari Police Station in district Jajpur, where a Christian was beaten up and humiliated at the Matiapara market on 15 January. Later, a mob armed with lathi and other weapon attacked the houses of the Christian community. They were beaten up then their houses were ransacked and then set on fire. The victims ran for their lives and took shelter at the Bari Police Station.
In Andhra Pradesh on January 12, RSS workers attacked a pastor and four others who were celebrating a birthday party in a house in Baswapur. The Pastor and 5 others were injured in the violence.
Dear Home Minister, this is merely an illustrative list.
My own unofficial violence list for 2005 listed hundreds of cases. A recent survey document released by the Madhya Pradesh Christian Association and the National Forum for Reconciliation, Religious Liberty and Social Justice, and conducted among 4,105 Christians scattered in the districts of Ratlam, Indore, Dhar, Dewas and Jhabua,revealed that poor, tribal Christians were the main target of violence. It indicated that the reasons behind the growing insecurity among the Christian community were communalism, apathy and corruption in the state administration, especially the police. More than 68.2 percent of Christians felt insecure in the state ruled by the BJP, 58.9 percent feared an attack on them sometime in the future, and 63.4 percent held the state administration and the police responsible for anti-Christian violence.
Dear Sir, you will agree that urgent steps need to be taken to restore confidence and check the actual violence. This requires sensitivity on the part of both Centre and State governments. The Centre must tell state governments it takes a most serious view of such violence and will not hesitate initiating the sternest steps to protect the helpless, the poor and the marginalized. Of particular worry is the communalisation of the police and their acting at the behest of the Hindutva forces. Such policemen deserve to be weeded out and criminal proceedings launched against them as a signal to all other that the UPA government means business.
With personal regards