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ICC note: Believers have no safe haven when the government is also after them.

by Nirmala Carvalho

7/5/07 Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Senior Congress Party leader and former minister Ajay Singh has accused Hindu extremists of targeting Christians, their institutions and places of worship at the behest of the government of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, which is run by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In a statement released yesterday in the state capital of Bhopal, Mr Singh said the BJP was frustrated because of the legal challenges faced by the Freedom of Religion Act, better known as the anti-conversion law that was amended by the state assembly last year and which bans all conversions obtained by force or fraud, but is usually used against Christian influence in Indian society.

Citing last Monday attack against Rev Amos Singh, his school and church in Arjun Nagar in Rewa district, the Congress Party leader said that although “the police have registered a case [. . .] no action was taken so far. This has encouraged the accused to roam freely through the city terrorising the members of the community.”

According to Singh, since the BJP came to power in the state not only members of Christian community have been being assaulted but their religious and educational institutions have been targeted. This is part of a strategy to make them feel insecure and help the Sangh Parīvār “protect” India’s Hindu identity. The latter is an umbrella organisation that brings together various groups promoting hindutva or Hindu nationalism.

Mr Singh, who blames Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for the situation, urges him to recreate a climate of peace and respect for Christians and all other minorities.