Uttar Pradesh Government promises crackdown on Hindu radicals targeting Christmas

The Federal Interior Minister calls chief minister Yogi Adityanath. The militants of Hindu Jagrant Manch threatened Catholic schools. "To ensure that the freedom to practice one's religion is protected at all costs".

Agra (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Uttar Pradesh government has announced a crackdown on the radical Hindu group that had threatened to ruin the Christmas celebrations in Catholic schools. The Agra district administration has asked Hindu Jagrant Manch (Hindu vigilante group) to sign a surety of one million rupees and make a statement assuring that its activists will not be guilty of any acts of disturbance or damage of the schools.

The stance comes in the aftermath of a phone call between Rajnath Singh, Federal Minister of the Interior, and Yogi Adityanath, chief minister of the state in question. The conversation took place in the presence of a Catholic delegation led by Card. Baselios Cleemis, president of the Indian Bishops' Conference, who two days ago complained to the minister about the worrying discrimination that Indian Christians are undergoing during this Christmas period.

The incident that caused the most concern was the arrest and detention of 30 seminarians and two Catholic priests in Satna, in Madhya Pradesh, for holding Christmas carols services in villages. In the specific case of Uttar Pradesh, this week the Hindu Jagrant Manch, a far-right youth faction linked to Adityanath, issued a warning to the Catholic schools of Aligarh: do not celebrate Christmas because it "leads" to the conversion of children. In retaliation, if any institution dared to break the ban, fundamentalists threatened protest sit-ins.

Anand Kumar, deputy director general, told the Times of India: "We have ordered all the district police chiefs of the state to ensure that the freedom to practice their religion, as enshrined in the Constitution, is protected at all costs and appropriate actions are taken in case someone tries to violate it ".