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Christians Singled out for Attack

Santo Thomas Santo Thomas
26 Jul 2021

The preamble of the Constitution declares that India is a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic. Its objectives are to secure justice, liberty, equality to all citizens and promote fraternity, unity and integrity of the nation. India’s unity in diversity has always been glorified. Different religions coexist in a spirit of patriotism. People of every religion had stood hand-in-hand to realise this dream of the framers of the Constitution. The diverse colors, religions, languages and cultures were not a stumbling block in realising the concept of a beautiful India. But the makers of the Constitution had clearly understood the need for the protection of the religious minorities in the multi-religious context of India. They had foreseen the possible threat to the minorities. 

Recent happenings in India are matters of grave concern. The nation has not yet recovered from the shocking death of Stan Swamy.  The 84-year-old Jesuit priest had spent his entire life fighting for the rights of the oppressed tribals. He died waiting for his trial and bail. He had always stood for the constitutional rights of the marginalized, especially in Jharkhand. He fought for his people not with sword but with pen. He was silenced because he raised questions against powers-that-be.

Little Flower Church, Lado Sarai, Delhi was demolished under the supervision of the Block Development Officer in the morning of July 12.  For over 10 years, about 450 Syro Malabar Catholic families have been using the Church building for worship. The land was donated to the Diocese in 2006 by a member of the parish, Mr. Philipose John. The property has been in his possession since 1982.  All legal documents are in the possession of the parish and it has been regularly paying property tax, water and electricity bills. 

The authorities demolished the church building without giving sufficient time to present the documents in defence. Mr. Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, whom the minorities had supported, has not yet given a satisfactory explanation on the demolition. But he assured his support and aid to Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara. The Churches in Delhi including the one demolished in Lado Sarai were given police protection when they came under a spate of attacks in 2015.  It was quietly withdrawn. The domination of the Church is contempt of the Court too because there is a stay order of the High Court of Delhi against such an action. Rights of the minorities are being trampled under. Christians are peace loving, conducting their prayer services and celebrations without offending the feelings of anyone. They function under canon laws and an established hierarchical order. It is suspected that there has been a conspiracy. The contribution of Christians in the fields of education and health is paramount.

There are many places of worship in the area where the Church existed. But the church was singled out and targeted. Christians have enormously contributed to the growth of Delhi. Religious congregations and communities also have contributed a lot in the field of culture, education, health etc. Many political leaders, bureaucrats and scientists have received their education from Christian institutions.  Delhi has three dozen Christian schools where an admission is highly sought for. There is no place for caste, color and creed. Christians indulge in humanitarian works in times of calamities like covid. They run several homes for the destitute.  Have anyone heard of Christians attacking anyone else’s place of worship? Can anyone deny the selfless service of nurses, mostly Christians from Kerala, during the wrath of Covid-19?

In the recent past, attacks on Christians and their institutions have been on the increase in the Hindi heartland. Many of them go unreported. If this goes on unchecked, the Christians may have to face the same repression endured by the Yazidis, Jews and Rohingyas.

(santpmcbs@gmail.com)
 

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