08/19/2010, 00.00
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Weed out Christianity, says Hindu BJP nationalist leader

Prahlad Remani, a state lawmaker with the Bharatiya Janata Party, made the statement at Independence Day celebrations. For the Global Council of Indian Christians, “the tally of anti-Christian incidents has topped 200” since the BJP came to power in 2008. The latest occurred on 15 August, when two Protestant clergymen were attacked by Hindu extremists and detained by police.
Bangalore (AsiaNews) – A Hindu nationalist leader with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vowed last Sunday to weed out the seeds of Christianity in the State of Karnataka. On the same day, two Protestant clergymen were detained by police. Since the BJP has been in power in the state, there have been more than 200 anti-Christian incidents.

Speaking during India’s Independence Day celebrations on 15 August, Prahlad Remani, a member of the Karnataka State Legislature, said that he would not remain quiet until Christianity was weeded out of his state.

“People must remain aware and watchful about the spread of these seeds of Christianity,”  said the lawmaker, who is a member of the ruling Hindu nationalist BJP, which has ruled Karnataka since May 2008. “The followers of any religion, including the Hindus and others, must weed out Christianity”.

In response to this kind of statement, Sajan Kavinkalath George, national chairman of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), said, “If the elected members of the State Assembly indulge in such inflammatory speeches,” which are “intended to disrupt communal harmony and cause mistrust, what can be expected of the lumpen elements who have their tacit support to carry out their threats and violence against the vulnerable minority Christian community.”

The results are for everyone to see. So far, George noted, “the tally of anti-Christian incidents has topped 200”. And of course, they continue. The latest anti-Christian act came on India’s Independence Day, 15 August, when two ministers from “Campus Crusade for Christ” and ten of their followers were detained by the police in Mandya district.

The two clergymen were conducting a religious service when 30 Hindu militants burst into the building where the meeting was taking place. Police also moved in but instead of arresting the Hindu troublemakers, they arrested the two clergymen and about ten members of the congregation. The latter were eventually released, but the two pastors were held on proselytising charges.

To avoid a repeat of utterances like Remani’s or arrests like those in Mandya, Mgr  Bernard Moras, archbishop of Bangalore, called on Karnataka Governor Hansraj Bhardwaj to direct all ministers and legislators to avoid making inflammatory and derogatory statements against different religions.

Christians constitute a small minority in Karnataka of about a million out of a total population of 53 million. (NC)

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