Persecution of Christians Must Stop

The unrelenting campaign of aggression against the country’s Christian community, and the inaction of government, are matters of serious concern, writes DR MOHAMMAD MANZOOR ALAM

Right from the day BJP came out victorious in the Gujarat elections a clear campaign of aggression was launched against Christian community in Gujarat. In one of the most bizarre attacks in the state a priest was badly beaten up and the fingers of his hands were chopped. Everybody knows that the Sangh and its dozens of front organisations are behind the attacks.

The Sangh had gradually upped the ante since the day of BJP victory and adopted an increasingly aggressive posture. As if on a cue, the Sangh outfits in Orissa got activated virtually within hours of the Gujarat attack. The anti-Christian campaign in Orissa was timed to coincide with Christian celebrations, a season of festivities worldwide. They had decided to inflict sorrow in a season of the greatest joy.

This phenomenon is not difficult to understand. The aggressors have interpreted the BJP win in Gujarat as Hindu endorsement of mass violence against the minorities. Mr Modi won the 2002 elections on the hate wave of that year’s anti-Muslim pogrom. The 2007 win too had a lot to do with undercurrents of suspicion and hostility against the minorities. The Sangh had decided to extend the Gujarat experiment to the rest of India. Orissa has been selected as the fist stop for the anti-minorities juggernaut.

As far as the states of Gujarat and Orissa are concerned the sorrow of the minorities does not matter. But, what happened to the Centre? Is it run by the NDA? What has the Centre done by the way of intervention? Orissa government is not going to budge. According to a senior leader of the community, Dr John Dayal, the state government had completely failed to (or refused to?) stop the atrocities. The goons have gone on attacking Christian villages, uprooting people, burning down houses.

Thousands have been rendered homeless. A large number have disappeared. So far we are told that they have fled into forests to hide there till the attacks taper off. There is no account of the dead. The government is said to be going through the motion of setting up camps half-heartedly.

This is merely a warm-up for bigger things to come. Remember the Shiv Sena-Sangh slogan of post-Babri-Masjid-demolition riots in Mumbai (1992-93), “Aaj kasai, kal Isai” (Muslims today, Christians tomorrow). Muslims, in Sangh parlance, are kasai (butchers). They were true to their promise: they did start a wave of anti-Christian violence after the cycle of anti-Muslim riots.

By now this alternating pattern of attacks is established. One round against Muslims to be followed by another against Christians. Soon after that comes the turn of Muslims, to be followed by Christians again. This has to stop. And, by the way, where is the Law? It must stand up and be counted if it does not want to make an ass of itself. g

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