Raghuvanshi: BJP manipulates Christian candidate for president
- "Ridiculous" statements to "be condemned in full," a
clear sign that "the ultra-nationalist Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
are manipulating PA Sangma" says Lenin Raghuvanshi, an atheist activist
for Human Rights and executive director of the People's Vigilance Committee on
Human Rights (Pvchr), regarding certain statements made by PA Sangma, a Catholic
tribal member of the Congress (ruling party). Interviewed
by an Indian television, the politician said: "Where is the evidence that
the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is responsible for the anti-Christian pogrom
in Kandhamal? Let us not jump to conclusions ... we must not make such
that have shocked Indian public opinion (Christian and otherwise), for two
reasons: because recently, the Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches (APFC) appointed
Sangma "its" candidate
in the forthcoming presidential elections (July 2012) ,
because the BJP, the first opposition party, has endorsed his candidacy.
The BJP supports the radical Hindu movement Sangh Parivar responsible for much violence against Christians, Dalits and minorities in India. Last but not least, the 2008 anti-Christian pogroms in Orissa.
"The Hindutva forces - Raghuvanshi explains - have already lost the support of Dalits, and are trying to exploit Sangma to get the tribal votes. In Kandhamal, the ultranationalists have fomented tensions existing between the tribal and Dalit Christians to create conflicts within the communities, and take power. But the Sangh Parivar is responsible for the anti-Christian pogrom in Kandhamal. Every single house burned down or destroyed, every church violated, bears the mark of saffron flags [orange color symbolizing the Hindu nationalists, ed]. "
According Raghuvanshi, with his statements Sangma "is trying to clean up the image of the Hindu nationalists, hoping to attract tribal sympathy and votes. If [Sangma] is truly able to support totally unfounded things, let him go in person to the victims: those who have seen their houses destroyed and who have suffered violence and still bear the trauma. Let him go and tell them that the Hindu fascist forces are not responsible. "
On August 23, 2008 the killing - by a Maoist group - of Lakshmananda Saraswati, the Hindu leader, produced a wave of unprecedented violence against the Christian community in Kandhamal (Orissa). Lasting until October of that year, the violence left more than 56 thousand people - mostly Dalit panos and tribals kondhs, almost all Christians - homeless, forced to live for months in the forest without food or water before they could safely reach the refugee camps. For the Indian Church, about 6 thousand homes were looted, burned or demolished. Nearly 300 churches destroyed, plus convents, schools, hostels and care homes. The Orissa authorities have never denied Hindu nationalists responsibility for the violence, counting about 50 dead. The data collected by Christian activists speak instead of 91 victims: 38 who were killed on the spot, 41 who died from injuries sustained during the violence, 12 during police interventions.