Gang-rape of 2 Indian Christian women, Probe against BJP MLA demanded. By Pervez Bari


BHOPAL (India) June 3: Ms Indira Iyengar, member of the Madhya Pradesh State Minorities Commission and president of Madhya Pradesh Christian Association

in a statement has alleged that a local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Dal Singh Solanki instigated the miscreants for the attack and rape. She said Solanki was repeatedly threatening Christians of falsely implicating on conversion attempts. Ms Iyengar said that the attack on the church and abduction of women followed these threats. She alleged the accused attacked the victims only because they had embraced Christianity. It may be pointed out here that two Christian women were allegedly gang-raped while a Church was attacked by the fundamentalist Hindu activists in the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh on May 28. The incident took place in the Nadia village, Bhagwanpura block of the Khargone district of the state. Ms Iyengar has expressed surprise at the deteriorating law and order situation and said minorities were no longer safe anywhere in the State. She has demanded an inquiry against the local MLA Solanki and action into the entire incident. She has warned that if stern action is not taken against the accused, she would stage dharna (sit-in) at the Chief Minister`s residence and launch a campaign to "expose" the BJP Government in the State. Meanwhile, Dr. John Dayal, Member of the National Integration Council, Government of India, commenting on the incident said: "the attack and rape of the Christian women has to be seen both in terms of religious intolerance of the Sangh Parivar and in the pattern of violence against women -- the most vulnerable section of our society. On both counts, it must be condemned in the strongest of terms by all segments and all religion groups in our country". Dr. Dayal said as we know, police records show that a woman is raped every half an hour in India, while one is killed every 75 minutes -- usually burnt to death for not bringing a large enough dowry. The Police National Crime Records Bureau data [quoted by Reuters] says violence against children also rose by nearly a quarter in 12 months and recorded cases of female feticide increased by a half in 2004. He recalled that the present case is reminiscent of the gang-rape of nuns in Jhabua many years ago. He said that he has repeatedly told the Federal government, there seems to be a parallel law and justice administration system working in states ruled by the BJP, which has no respect for religious freedom. The state governments are also callous and slow in registering cases even when the matter is brought to their attention. Law and order is a state subject, and the central government cannot intervene unless there is mass violence, he added. "We are seeking the highest legal advice possible to see how freedom of faith issues and violence connected with atrocities on minorities can become a central subject so that direct intervention is possible", Dr. Dayal pointed out.

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