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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightIs it to see this...

Is it to see this India that the Pope was invited?

Every day, communal violence erupts in India, tarnishing the image of the world's largest secular democracy. The latest in this series are attacks on the Christian community in various parts of India this Christmas. In addition to breaking into Christian churches and interrupting prayers and Christmas celebrations and carols, the statue of Christ in a churchyard was smashed. Since the first Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014, efforts have been made to make Christmas a working day as it is the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and with demands that it should be observed as Good Governance Day. In recent years, disruptions have been attempted on Christmas celebrations, both secretly and openly, with isolated attempts, some of them deliberate. This time, however, the atrocities have spread to all parts of the country with no cover or hesitation. The worst affected states are BJP-ruled UP, Haryana, Assam and Karnataka.

In Gurugram, where Friday prayers of Muslims have been continuously disrupted by the Sangh Parivar affiliates, "Jai Shree Ram" was chanted around a school where Christmas celebrations were being held, in the same pattern as earlier forms of intimidation. In Kurukshetra, Hanuman Chalisa was played through a microphone during a Christmas celebration. The statue of Christ was smashed inside a church Temple in the Ambala Cantonment area, which was put under tight security. Provocative slogans were chanted in front of the ashram where Christmas prayers were held in Chandmari, Varanasi, which is the stronghold of the Prime Minister. The extent of hatred and animosity incited in the process is illustrated by an incident where a protest was staged against Santa Claus alleging it to be a cover for conversion and an effigy was burned. In Karnataka, where the BJP government is pushing for a ban on conversion, rehearsals for the violence began weeks ago.

In the first nine months of this year, there were 300 incidents of violence against the Christian community in the country, according to figures released by human rights groups. Many right-wing groups have threatened not to allow Christmas celebrations and traditional lit star decorations. In such a situation, governments, which are duty bound to provide the necessary security arrangements during the festivities, are eager to assist the perpetrators instead. They must also have considered it their duty to commit atrocities against the Christian community that Golwalkar listed as the greatest enemies after Muslims. If the BJP or its leaders claim not to support such attacks, they should have come forward to condemn the atrocities committed by various elements of the Hindutva Parivar organizations, at least with a tweet. t. Hateful and fake social media messages about religion are being spread by a dedicated group - which includes frontline sangh parivar advocates - and the messages constantly reach young people, housewives and family groups. Deceived by the promises of the Sangh Parivar and blinded by a mutual belief in accusing Muslims of things like love jihad, narcotics jihad and other false invective, Christian leaders and clergy who once called for a 'secular society' have now been pushed to the sideline. Their silence in the face of such atrocities committed against their own community by those they sought to ally with is a point worthy of noting.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Pope Francis in person a few months ago and invited him to visit India, following repeated requests from the Christian community in the country. The Pope accepted the invitation and each of us hopes he will visit India next year. But, have we invited that world leader who puts peace as top priority to see a country full of broken Christ statues, churches and persecuted priests? Perhaps the Prime Minister and his followers think that the wounded men can be concealed just as the slums housing poor people were hidden by a wall so that guests cannot see them.

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TAGS:Attacks on Christianssangh parivarIndia invitation to PopeBJP anti-coversion moves
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