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ICC Note:

This article provides additional information on the Hindu backlash to a controversial book written by a Christian that allegedly “insults” Hindu deities.

Christian Today India (03/06/06) – Angered by the alleged derisive statements made against Hindu and Jain deities in a controversial book written by a Christian, supporters of the radical Hindu outfits, the Bajrang Dal and the Shiv Sena have reportedly vandalized a Christian school and a church, besides burning the effigy of a bishop.

The activists were reportedly protesting against a book titled, Haqiqat, authored by MJ Matthew and reportedly published and distributed by Bishop MA Thomas, Padma Shree awardee and founder of the Emmanuel Mission based in Kota .

The activists, in protest, not only broke into the Emmanuel Mission Senior Secondary School and made their way on to the roof of the church where they burnt the effigy of Bishop Thomas.

The activists also scribbled the ‘ OM ’ sign on the Cross, adding ‘Shri Ram’ underneath.

A similar act of vandalism was reported from the Pratap Nagar area of Sanganer where activists took over a Mission School and forced its children to leave school.

Hindu radical outfits in the Hadoti region have also been protesting against the controversial book. The protest has now spread to different parts of Rajasthan, including Jaipur.

According to the EFI news, the outfits have also organized a protest committee, the Matantaran Virodhi Manch, and are demanding that the government take over the institute being run by Emmanuel Mission in Kota and appoint an administrator.

Incidentally, last year the Emmanuel Mission also came under attack and an annual convention it was conducting was disrupted midway when the VHP and Bajrang Dal activists accused it of indulging in religious conversion. (See Hindu outfits attack Christian mission in Rajasthan, disrupt convention.

Several Christian organizations, including the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) and the All India Christian Council, have reacted strongly against the unprovoked attack and vandalism.

“EFI expresses deep concern over the recent persecution of Christians at the hands of Hindu radicals,” said Rev. Richard Howell, general secretary, EFI. “We hope the Administration and Government in the State would not let the perpetrators of the crime go scot-free and would do the essential to protect the Christian community.”

EFI has also urged Christians nationwide to pray for the persecuted in Rajasthan and appeal to the people in authority to make all efforts in securing the safety of the minority community in the state.

“Padma Shree Bishop M. A. Thomas is at the receiving end of the Sangh Parivar’s ire for no fault of his. The supposed reason – not that the RSS or the VHP has ever needed a real one to make him a target of their way of hate for the last ten years – a book named Haqeeqat – a work that he has neither authored nor published,” said Dr. Abraham Mathai, general secretary, AICC. “It just happens to be one of the thousands of titles available at the Emmanuel Missions’ bookstore in Kota , Rajasthan.”

Regretting that instead of arresting the extremists who vandalized the school and the church, the Police have registered non-bailable offence against the Bishop and his staff and are all out to arrest and humiliate him, Dr. Mathai said, “The Christian Council strongly condemns this act of State sponsored hooliganism against an innocent man who has spent his whole life in serving the orphans and lepers of this nation. The Council also fears that such an attitude from the BJP Government would certainly encourage another Dara Singh to repeat the brutal Graham Staines episode in Kota very soon.”