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Hindu Fanatics beaten a Maharashtra Village Ministries Worker and Prayer Meeting Stopped
Police failed to take action even after 3 Days.


New Delhi, May 15, 2008

A group of Hindu fanatics has beaten a Maharashtra Village Ministries worker at Joadmoha of Yavatmal District, Maharashtra on May 13. The police failed to take action against the culprits till the filing of this report.

Rev. D. B. Kulothungan, General Secretary of Maharashtra Village Ministries (MVS) reports to All India Christian Council that incident happened when a group of villagers numbering up to 15 to 30 came and forced to stop a prayer meeting held at Mr. Shrikant Chandekar’s resident on May 13. When Shrikant refused to stop the prayer meeting, he was beaten badly by the mob.

Mr. Shrikant, on same day, went to Joadmoha police station to lodge a complaint against the culprits and police did not take any action to protect Mr. Shrikant and his church members.

While speaking to Mr. Desh Pande, Head Constable of Rural Police Station, Yavatmal, Maharashtra, he reports to All India Christian Council (aicc) that a FIR No 238/2008 with non-cognizable case is filed against the culprits under 504 and 505 section of India Penal Code.

Speaking to the Delhi aicc Legal Secretary, Ms. Lanshinglu Rongmei, she said that beating up a pastor and disturbing a religious gathering is cognizable crime, in which police suppose to pick up the offenders immediately and take action without the warrant from court.

Making the cognizable crime as Non-cognizable is the play of Joadmoha police station against Christian community. This kind of play will only advance to the Hindu fanatics to attack more on Christian minority.

Rev. Prakash Tode, Field Coordinator of MVH, has appealed to Maharashtra State Minority Commission through its Vice Chairman, Dr. Abraham Mathai to look into this matter.

Christian community in the state of Maharashtra has faced discrimination from Sangh Parivar in recent time. In May 2007, two pastors belonging to Friends Missionary Prayer Band were beaten by Hindu fanatic mob in the present TV camera, draging them out in the public and the police on duty watched as silent spectators


Conversion: a political weapon
Ram Puniyan

One has been hearing a lot about the conversion activities of Christian missionaries. That there is a threat to Hindu nation due to Adivasis converting to a 'foreign religion' is becoming part of social common sense. The real face of the conversion came to fore when after the attack on nuns in Alibaug (March 2008) was followed by a massive conversion to Hinduism, Shuddhi ritual (April 27, 2008) in nearby Mumbai. The person involved in both these has been the same. In the attack on the Adivasis, the followers of Sadguru Narendra Maharaj of Ramanandcharya Peeth were involved and in the elaborate Shuddhi ritual the Guru himself led the conversion. Talking on the occasion he said the Hindus are being reduced to a pitiable minority because of the activities of Christian missionaries. He also came down heavily on the central Government for not pushing through the anti conversion bill and criticized the Maharashtra Government for passing the anti Superstition bill, according to him both these steps are anti Hindu.

His claim that Hindus are being reduced to minority is a stuff of make believe world as demographically India's Hindu population is fairly stable. The anti conversion bills which many state Governments have passed/are passing are totally against several articles of our constitution. Our constitution encourages the promotion of rational thought, in pursuance of which Maharashtra Government has done the laudable job of passing anti superstition bill. Those opposing this bill surely want the persistence of blind faith in society, it is this which strengthens their social and political clout and Guru is forthright as far as that is concerned. The same Guru's followers are adept to violence off and on. In Alibaug the people had assembled to hear a lecture on AIDS awareness when his followers assaulted the nuns.

How does one understand the rising incidence of violence in Adivasi areas? One recalls just around the Christmas time in 2007, massive violence was unleashed in Kandhmal and Phulbani districts of Orissa. In most of the Adivasi areas Dangs, Gujarat, Jhabua Madhya Pradesh, areas of Orissa, there has been a recurrent violence. It is these areas which have seen the conversion of Adivasis into Hindu fold. One must clarify that Adivasis are Animists, neither Christians nor Hindus. While some conversions to Christianity have been occurring they are not new as Christianity has been here from centuries. These conversions are due to many reasons, missionaries work in the area of education and health in particular. In recent times the overall population of Christians has been declining marginally (1991-2.60%, 1981-2.44%, 1991-2.34, 2001-2.30%) Part of the conversion surly is due to some groups amongst Christian missionaries who do believe in aggressive proselytization.

The Adivasi areas have invited the wrath of RSS combine from last two decades in particular since Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, an RSS affiliate intensified its activities in Adivasi areas. In these areas there is a vicious anti Christian propaganda leading to violence. Since this takes place in remote places the culprits can get away easily, more so with the complicity of communalized state apparatus. In these areas various Godmen with RSS affiliation, direct or indirect, have been either been setting up their Ashrams or extending their influence, Aseemanand; Dangs and Lakhhanand in Orissa, Asaram bapu in Jhabua refion MP, and Narendra Maharaj in Maharashtra.

Usually violence and intimidation is accompanied by cultural cooption. This latter has been done by holding huge Hindu Sangams and Shabri kumbhs. Dilip Singh Judeo, has been doing conversions in Adivasi areas of Madhya Pradesh. Sanskritzation is also operative in these conversions to Hinduism. The process has been called Ghar Vapsi or Shuddhikaran (purification) on the premise that Adivasis are Hindus. This is unmindful of the fact that Advasis are primarily animists and do not fall in the category of religion as a social phenomenon, as applicable to Hindus, Muslims, Christians etc.

Adivasis are the most deprived lot of the society and have been targeted more for political reasons than for their own welfare. As during the early 1920s, Shuddhi movement (Hindu Communalism) was unleashed in parallel to Tanzim (Muslim communalism), now again the Shuddhi is back. Ghar Vapasi word has been cleverly coined. While browbeating Christian missionaries for conversions, the same term for its own activities will bring in disrepute. So this term, Ghar vapasi; returning home! The propaganda behind this says that Adivasis are essentially those Hindus who ran away to forests to escape the conversions by Muslims kings. In forests they kept living for long because of which they kept sliding down on the scale of social hierarchy. This concoction serves two purposes. One it feeds into the misconception that Islam spread by sword and also makes the Adivasi's claim as the original inhabitants, null and void so the Hindus nation's claim on the country becomes stronger, as they can also claim to be its original inhabitants.

The realization that to impose Hindu rashtra in this country the electoral majority is needed as a starting point, the process of co-opting Adivasis into Hindu fold has been stepped up. And this 8% population can be the wonderful addition to electoral base for the right wing politics. The second advantage is that by indoctrinating them they can be unleashed against the other enemies of Hindu nation, like Muslims, as witnessed in Gujarat, where they were used as ideal foot soldiers for the agenda of Hindu Rashtra.

While one has no problems with the peaceful missionary work of Ramakrishna mission or Christian missionaries one is aghast at this new phenomenon in our society whose primary focus is political, though couched in the language of religion. More human welfare activities in these areas, more emphasis on human rights concerns of this marginalized section of society are what are needed. By emphasizing on blind faith, by spreading hate against other section of society, this phenomenon started by the ilk of Gurus is very dangerous to national Integration.

After Four Years, Supreme Court of India Continues to Delay Decision on Dalit
UPA Government Fails to Make Statement on Dalit Christians’ Civil Rights
Dalit Christian and Muslim Reservation Pushed in Harder Corner


New Delhi, April 26, 2008

The delay game by India’s government on Dalit Christian and Dalit Muslim reservations is fueling increased frustration. The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government has failed to make statement on the demand for Scheduled Caste (SC) status by Dalits from religious minorities while the Supreme Court continues to delay a decision on four related cases.

After civil rights were given to India’s Dalits in the country’s constitution, those chose to adopt Christianity or Islam had their rights taken away by the Presidential Order of 1950. While Sikhs and Buddhist Dalits eventually had their rights restored, the request of Christian and Muslim Dalits has been denied for the last 58 years.

A public interest litigation case challenging paragraph 3 of Article 341 of the Presidential Order was filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation on behalf of T. Franklin Caesar in 2004. Two experienced lawyers, Sr. Advocate Shanti Bhushan and Sr. Advocate Prashant Bhushan, have appeared in the court at least eleven times to ask for justice under Article 32 of the Constitution of India.

Additional Solicitor General Mr. Gopal Subramanium sought eight weeks times to study the report by a government commission at the last hearing on 23 January 2008. Beginning on March 27, the case has been listed for a hearing several times but it was never called up since the court has consistently put the case as number 20 or higher. The court typically can only hear a few cases each day.

Dr. Sam Paul, National Secretary of Public Affairs, All India Christian Council (aicc) said, “The delay game of the Supreme Court has frustrated the Dalit Christian and Dalit Muslim communities. Numerous commissions and reports have shown that Dalits, regardless of their religious background, suffer discrimination both socially and economically. The delay in changing this unjust law is inexcusable.” The most recent finding was a report sponsored by the National Commission for Minorities and written by some university researchers which found the economic and social status of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims is the same as other Dalits.

Mr. T. Franklin Caesar, whose case was first heard on April 26, 2004, said, “The UPA government has spent much time on policies to give 27% reservations for Other Backward Castes (OBC) in higher educational institutions, but they have failed to act on the Dalit Christians demand.”

The UPA government received opinions from the Justice Misra National Commission on Linguistic & Religious Minorities (May 2007) and the National Commission on Scheduled Castes (late 2007). Both recommended delinking religion from benefits for Dalits. Yet on 3 March 2008, Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment, Ms. Meira Kumar, told Parliament that the matter has been referred to the National Commission for Backward Classes.

Dr. Sam Paul said, “Why does the court, obviously under instructions from the UPA government, have to seek opinions from so many commissions while Dalit Sikh and Dalit Buddhist demands for government benefits were given without any similar conditions in 1956 and 1990, respectively?”


NCM push for Muslims, Christians

New Delhi, April 4: A study commissioned by the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has come out in strong support of reservations for dalit Muslims (DMs) and dalit Christians (DCs). The detailed study has said that "there is a strong case for according Scheduled Caste status to dalit Muslims and Christians". Indeed, as the study says, "There is no compelling evidence to justify denying SC status to DMs and DCs." The study was done by Prof. Satish Deshpande of the department of sociology, Delhi School of Economics, along with Ms Geetika Bapna.

The suggestion should serve as a shot in the arm for those in favour of granting SC status to dalit Muslims and Christians. While there have been frequent demands from several Muslim and Christian leaders pressing for reservation for DMs and DCs, recent weeks have seen politicians too trying to elbow their way into the cause. For instance, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati recently wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that dalit Muslims and Christians be granted reservation as their socio-economic status is no better than that of dalits belonging to other religions. Yet another dalit leader, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party, too has expressed similar sentiments.

While these two leaders clearly have an eye on the vote bank, the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Ranganath Misra (Retd) certainly wasn’t governed by political considerations when it recommended that DMs and DCs be included in the reserved category. However, given the politically sensitive nature of this recommendation, the UPA government has chosen to sit on the report. Unwilling to stir the political cauldron, the government is yet to table the report, which was submitted almost a year ago in Parliament.

Both Christian and Muslim leaders, while seeking reservation for DCs and DMs, often draw upon the Scheduled Caste status granted to Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist dalits to bolster their demand. It is noteworthy that dalit Sikhs were included in the reserved category through a 1956 presidential order. Then in 1999, dalit converts to Buddhism were included in the SC category. Why should not dalit Muslims and Christians too be included in the same category, the All-India Dalit Muslim and Christian Federation has often asked.

The NCM-commissioned study has detailed the reasons for why there is a case for granting SC status to dalit Muslims and Christians. For instance, it has said, "DMs are unquestionably the worst off among all dalits, in both the rural and especially the urban sector." The study further notes that "DMs are completely absent in the affluent group for urban India".

  Living Mission reports persecutions and attacks against Christian missionaries in India.
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