NAGPUR: Christians condemned the attack on the Douglas Memorial Church on Sunday. They blamed the failure of the state government to protect the lives of the minority community.
Bishop Paul Dupare of Church of North India (CNI) said that we should follow the teachings of love and peace as preached by Mahaveera, Buddha and Jesus. “Even the great Mahatma Gandhi preached and practiced these teachings. People from all communities should live in peace and harmony. All religions must be respected,” Bishop Dupare told TOI.
Mumbai-based Abraham Mathai, vice-chairman of the state minority cell, blamed the police for the incident. He questioned the police action as only one person was arrested till evening. He said miscreants are trying to destabilise the harmony of the state.
Members of Christian Community Welfare Association of India slammed the small group of fanatics saying they have shamed their community. They urged their community members to pray for such elements who disrupt peace and harmony.
Manish Chandekar, president of south Nagpur, expressed shock and criticised the government for not taking any steps. “The law and order situation in the state has reached its lowest point. Minorities are being targeted to stop them from performing their legitimate religious rites. The Bajrang Dal is being given a free hand by the state government,” he alleged and demanded that the guilty be brought to justice.
Nelson Francis, executive member, Catholic Association of Nagpur, said that the incident was very unfortunate and such things must not happen again as they may cause social disharmony.
Meanwhile, general secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Hemant Jambekar too condemned the incident. He said that though the people involved in the attack may be from the Hindu community, they are not members of the VHP.
According to Jambekar, on Saturday evening, Hindu youths from the area came to know that 40 Hindu families were to be converted at the Church on Sunday. To stop the conversion ceremony, the youths approached the Saoner police, claimed Jambekar. “The police failed to act promptly and that may have angered the youths. When there are nation-wide protests against conversion, then how come the church at Saoner dared to convert people,?” asked Jambekar.
Subodh Acharya, city president of Bajrang Dal ruled out any involvement of activists. He said that it was the reaction of Hindus living in the area. Acharya said the Christian community was targeted because it was luring people to get converted.
20 Apr 2009, Proshun Chakraborty, TNN