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Christians up in arms against Hindutva terror in MP

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Bhopal: The Christians in Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), ruled central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh are up in arms against the alleged harassment from right wing Hindu groups symbolizing saffron forces perpetuating Hindutva philosophy.

To express their ire and anger towards these forces in a democratic manner and demanding protection and fair treatment, the Christians would hold a protest march and form human chain on April 18 in Bhopal to highlight their plight.

The above announcement was made by Archbishop Dr. Leo Cornelio, who heads the Catholic Church in Madhya Pradesh state, at a Press conference here. He said Christians have been harassed and humiliated but the state's BJP government has not taken any action against the perpetrators of crime against the minority community.

Dr. Cornelio informed that such programs would be organized in many other districts of the State at the occasion of Christian Right Day.

He alleged that Christians have faced continuous attacks since the pro-Hindu BJP came to power in December 2003 in Madhya Pradesh. Since then, the state has witnessed more than 150 attacks on Christians and their institutions, according to Church records, he claimed.

“Our people are booked in false cases and sent to jail but those who attack us walk free,” the Archbishop Dr. Cornelio charged.

Dr. Cornelio said that this callous approach of the BJP State government toward such fringe groups inimical to the Church is a matter of serious worry and concern. He reminded the government that it is the government’s duty to protect each citizen without looking into anyone’s caste, creed and community sympathies,” Archbishop Cornelio said.

The inaction on the part of the government and law enforcement agencies has created a sense of insecurity among Christians who feel threatened, he added.

Archbishop Dr. Cornelio charged that some hardliner Hindu organizations are trying to defame Church in the state. Activities of such outfits have intensified since Home Minister Umashankar Gupta took charge of the ministry. He said several incidences have occurred where these outfits like Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and others have indulged in violence against Christians and their Church while police stood mute spectator without taking any action despite several complaints.

Meanwhile, Dr. Cornelio rejected the allegation of forced conversion which was brought to light by few groups after the suicide of Venu Kumar alias Yeshu Babu in a seminary on the outskirts of Bhopal.

He said that the deceased was from the same community. He added that more than 90 locals of the village of Gundupilli (Andhra Pradesh) from where the boy hailed have written letter to the police that the boy was a Christian and followed traditions and customs of the religion from generations.

He said that only those who come forward to sacrifice their lives and believe in Catholic religion are only permitted to become father. He further said that the deceased has been cremated with Christian rituals. He also said that Shreenivas, father of the boy, went into second marriage in 2002 according to the Christian law.

Dr. Cornelio lamented that despite both the Central and the State Governments have implemented many schemes in favor of Christian community like scholarship plan, self employment plan and many more for the financial backward people of the community, but people of the community are not getting benefit even after continuous approach.





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