11/04/2005, 00.00
INDIA
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Some 200 episodes of anti-Christian violence in 2005 in India

by Nirmala Carvalho
All India Catholic Union deplores the situation, especially bad in states ruled by the fundamentalist BJP. Union government is urged to ensure young Christians education and work

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – There have been more than 200 episodes of anti-Christian violence so far this year, this according to the All India Catholic Union (AICU). The Catholic rights group has informed the Union (federal) government of the situation and urged it to take the necessary measures to ensure protection and justice for the country's Christians. 

Most of the violent acts and attacks are concentrated in states that are currently under the administration of the Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP, known for its hard-line Hindu fundamentalist views. This year's figures are as high as those when the BJP controlled the central government.

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday, AICU chairman John Dayal reminded the premier that he had already written other times about the situation in states like

Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat where the machinery of state government itself is involved in violence

In the letter, Mr Dayal writes that the BJP seems bent on "divert[ing] the [Christian] community's energies away from its major advocacy campaign [on behalf of] Dalit Christians [for] the same rights and protection under the law enjoyed by Dalit Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus."

"The anti-Christian violence is being closely monitored by the All India Catholic Union," the letter said, and every year an unofficial white paper on anti-Christian violence is released.

For this reason, Mr Dayal is renewing his call on the government to conduct its own investigation into the conditions faced by the country's minorities, tribal communities and Dalits.

However, neither the current Congress-led government, nor the former BJP administration have conducted any inquiry into the matter

Christians by and large want the central government to exert "greater control and pressure on state governments so that they can "provide protection to their communities and churches and apprehend those responsible for the attacks".

The letter, which was signed by other Indian Catholic leaders, focuses on the particular vulnerable situation of Christians in Rajasthan.

In this state, the Sangh Parivar (a loose group of organisations, which promote Hindu fundamentalist nationalism) has threatened to turn the entire district of Udaipur into a Christian-free zone.

Similarly, state authorities in Madhya Pradesh have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to anti-Christian violence but have announced that they will introduce in the state legislature an anti-conversion bill.

The letter to the Prime Minister urges him "to help economically the Christian community in the areas of education and youth employment".

It also demands action in favour of Dalit Christians, who are mostly landless peasants, and Tribal Christian women in central India, where education still remains a rich man's privilege.

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In Madhya Pradesh government behind anti-Christian attacks
05/07/2007
Press conference on anti-Christian violence disrupted by Hindu activists
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Christians and Hindus clash over land
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