Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Beaten and threatened by a group of Hindu fundamentalists, two young Christians saw their books and religious set alight. According to their aggressors they were trying to convert the local population. A refrain long used to justify all kinds of violence carried out on India’s Christian minority. The event took place on November 14th in Naya Bazar, Bhiwani, Haryana State. Catholics human rights activists warn that the situation is worsening: between the summer and autumn of 2007 there has been a sharp rise in cases of abuse against Christians in particular in States governed by the fundamentalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The Bhiwani ’“incident” is the latest in a long list. The two young Baptist Christians were in a shop where they were showing their books to the owner, a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [Rss, Hindu fundamentalist paramilitary group ed]. The shopkeeper immediately mobilised he group and told other activists that the boys were distributing Christian’s books with an aim to convert.
The youths were thrashed and taken in procession through city roads to the local Baptist Church where later their religious literature was burnt and the community threatened. The Civil police registered a case in connection with this episode against eight RSS members who were later arrested.
Speaking to AsiaNews John Dayal president of the All India Catholic Union, warns that Harayana is not the only state witnessing an increase in these kind of attacks. “The summer and autumn of 2007 have seen another peaking of violence against Christians. I am being informed of three to four terrible cases every week from across the country. Many of these cases are taking place in states ruled by the BJP and its allies, (Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Punjab), but others are also taking place in Congress ruled states such as such as Himachal and Haryana”. According to Dayal, it is an out and out campaign of violence which the fundamentalists with the support of their political leaders have orchestrated with precise intent: firstly to pressurise and coerce the minorities, specially the Christians, at a time when they are seeking redress in the supreme court of India for human rights; the second has to be seen in the context of the announcements by various governments that they want to bring forward laws to prevent conversions, obviously to Christianity. The skirmishes and violence will help them prove that Christian activity leads to social tensions. And finally to politically consolidate the xenophobic amongst the population on a Hindutva platform.