March 19, 2015. Washington DC. The Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA) is deeply troubled by the escalation of violence against Christian institutions and its leaders in India again after a brief lull following the Delhi elections.
Though, the rape of a 71 year old Catholic nun at the Jesus and Mary convent in the town of Ranaghat in Nadia district of West Bengal State last Saturday was first reported as common robbery incident, people on the ground inform us that the reported robbery could be merely a cover.
We are concerned that the law enforcement has been dragging its feet even after the CCTV images of the culprits were released. It makes us wonder if the accused are being protected by powerful political groups.
While welcoming Mr. Modi's reported interest in this case, we are disappointed that his government has been maintaining silence over another incident in another northern State of Haryana, where his own party is in power. There, a church under construction was demolished by members of BJP’s sister organizations. These members also replaced the cross on the site with an image of Hanuman - a Hindu god, and a saffron color flag of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council or VHP).
Meanwhile, the Global Council of Indian Christians report that, on Monday, the General Secretary of the VHP, Surendra Jain defended the demolition of the church.
Yesterday, the chief elected official of the State of Haryana Mr. Manohar Lal Khattar, belonging to Mr. Modi’s BJP party, tried to turn the tables on the Christian priest Subhash Masih accusing him of assaulting a Hindu youth in the village triggering the action. Mr. Masih originally lodged the complaint about the desecration and demolition of the church. Mr. Khattar said police received a complaint from someone saying that Mr. Masih assaulted a youth for running away from a prayer meeting in which they claim Mr. Masih insulted their gods.
Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations is increasingly suspecting the commitment Mr. Modi’s made to the nation and the world last month. We ask Mr. Modi and his government to end such hostilities carried out by BJP’s affiliated organizations. Statements like the one from the Chief Minister of the State of Haryana only creates the image that the BJP would try and protect the perpetrators of such hateful violence regardless of what the Prime Minister Modi has promised.
FIACONA will hold individual leaders of these violent groups along with State & national leaders of ruling BJP party personally responsible for this incident. We will hold them fully responsible for their tacit support to radical sister organizations and also for their failure to put an end to such violence.
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