//Rajasthan protestors demand justice for Christians

Rajasthan protestors demand justice for Christians

March 21, 2006, Jaipur (ICNS) — Hundreds of people from some 50 organizations in Rajsthan joined a march today in Jaipur protesting the increasing incidents of violence against Christians in the BJP-ruled state.

"Christians are peace loving and dedicated towards service, so they should not be treated in this manner by the BJP government," said film actor and former Samajwadi Party leader Raj Babbar. He was addressing a gathering of protestors.

Babbar said state Cooperative Minister Madan Dilawar was acting like a villian. "In movies Dilawars are the villains and in real life as well this minister is doing all that villains do," he aid.

He said the state withdrawing the registration of the Emmanuel Mission International (EMI) and the freezing of its accounts were "illegal."

The protesters also demanded justice for EMI and other Christian groups in the state that have witnessed several violent incidents over the past one two years.

The protest march was held in the wake of the arrest of Bishop Samuel Thomas, EMI chairperson near Delhi by Rajasthan police on March 16.

Police have been searching for Bihsop Samuel and his father Archbishop M. A. Thomas in connection with a case of igniting communal passion through a book. The book was distributed through EMI outlets.

The controversial a book, Haqeeqat (Reality) was written by M.G. Mathew, a Protestant. Hindu groups say it contains derogatory references to Hindu gods and some Hindu preachers and holy rivers.

The Christian leaders were trying for anticipatory bail without success. However, Archbishop Thomas is not yet arrested.

Several Christian leaders say the book-case is only an excuse to harass Christians. The state’s BJP government remains inactive to stop violence against Christians.

EMI founder Thomas and his son have faced several attacks in the past. Such events include an incident in which some people tried to douse the EMI compound in Kota with petrol and set it on fire.

Catholic nuns, priests and church property were attacked in the state’s tribal-dominated districts of Banswara, Dungarpur and Udaipur last year.