MP Governor speaks out against Indian state Govt. failure to protect Christians. By Pervez Bari


BHOPAL, (India) June 7: The central Indian province Madhya Pradesh`s Governor Dr. Balram Jakhar, the constitutional head of the state who is supposed to maintain a stance of tight upper lip publicly in the state of affairs, has broken his silence and gone public over the attacks on the minorities in the state. Dr. Jakhar losing patience over continuing attacks on the Christian community in the state, wondered why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled Shivraj Singh Chauhan government was not following its "Raj Dharma". An upset Dr. Jakhar reportedly lamented his woes to the correspondent of "The Telegraph", an English daily published from Kolkatta. He reportedly said: "I have been trying to draw the attention of the state government to curb anti-social activities with (an) iron hand. So far, nothing much has happened. I hope things shape up fast." This has appeared in today`s edition of the paper. Dr. Jakhar said he has been regularly calling up the chief minister and speaking to the state director-general of police and the chief secretary, and writing letters, but with no results. "I have been constantly reminding chief minister Chauhan that the state cannot and should not differentiate among its citizens. It is the job of the government to ensure that no injustice is committed anywhere. As a custodian of the Constitution of India, I will ensure that it happens," he said. Sources close to the governor said that in last few months, Jakhar has shot off six letters seeking investigation into specific cases of violence against the Christian community but in each case, the state home department either gave a clean chit to the attackers or denied that the incident had taken place. In less than 10 days, the Christian community has witnessed five separate attacks. On Monday, when the state minorities commission member and president of Madhya Pradesh Christian Association Ms Indira Iyenger was presenting before the media two Christian women who were allegedly gang-raped in in Naadia village of Khargone district, Bajrang Dal activists led by Bhopal district convener Devendra Rawat barged in, threatened her with dire consequences and disrupted the meet. The activists attempted to prevent her from holding the Press conference. Ms Iyengar and Rawat had a verbal duel and newsmen had to intervene to calm them down. After arguing with the convener for few minutes, Ms Iyengar left the place. Later, Rawat had apologized to the journalists but remained firm in his stand against conversion carried out by the Christian missionaries. The convener even alleged that the Christian missionaries were promoting conversion by luring the poor with employment and other benefits and declared that he would expose their misdeeds to acquaint people with reality. Meanwhile, when contacted Ms Iyengar said that after Monday`s incidence the Madhya Pradesh Government instead of providing her personal security has issued a notice seeking her clarification within 24 hours as to why she addressed a Press conference. Such acts tarnish the image of the State government, the notice said. The notice has been issued by the chairman of the state Minorities Commission. Ms Iyengar wondered whether highlighting the woes of the victims of gang-rape tarnishes the image or the saffron forces attempt to indulge in violence and browbeat the minorities. She said she would be replying to the notice within the stipulated time. Dr. John Dayal on behalf of the All India Catholic Union, the All India Christian Council, and the United Christian Action and on his own behalf as Member of the National Integration Council has demanded the arrest of saffron forces goons for rape and attack on Ms Iyengar`s press conference. Meanwhile, on Sunday, the temple town of Ujjain witnessed ugly scenes of a religious prayer meet being disturbed. In three incidents in Jabalpur district last week, several youngsters were forcibly abducted for allegedly inciting villagers to convert. In all the cases, police avoided acting against the hooligans. Spokesperson for the Church Fr. Anand Muttungal alleged victims were being pressurized to eschew Christian faith and brace Hinduism instead. But, when they did not agree, they were allegedly kidnapped and raped. Condemning the incident, Fr. Muttungal demanded immediate arrest of the guilty and a fair inquiry into the incident. Fr. Muttungal said he failed to fathom why law enforcement agencies were not acting against radical organizations taking law in their hands. He also alleged that the government was increasingly using the police to muzzle Christians, who form less than 1 per cent of state`s five million population.

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