Church in Garo Hills call for protest on Sunday against MP incident of persecution



TURA: An attempt by right wing Hindu fanatical groups allegedly led by Bajrang Dal and ABVP to forcibly try and organise their ritual of worship inside a Catholic institution in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday has sent shockwaves across the Christian community in Meghalaya.

The Catholic Church in Garo Hills is calling for January 7th to be observed as a “Day of Protest” to show solidarity with the suffering minorities in the rest of India and hold prayers for communal harmony in the country.

The decision to observe the protest stems from an incident that took place on January 4th at St. Mary’s P.G. College in Vidisha, Sagar Diocese of Madhya Pradesh.

Fringe elements from right wing groups and members of the ABVP allegedly tried to forcibly conduct a prayer session inside the Catholic institution despite protests by the priests and brothers.

“The attempt was foiled due to the intervention of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for which the Christian community is deeply grateful, but the fact remains that the tiny minority Christian community over there lives in fear and anxiety and it is a cause of worry,” stated the Diocese of Tura in a statement to the media.

The Catholic Church further added that the rising tide of intolerance and violence against minority communities, particularly in North India, had become a cause of serious concern to the Christian communities in Meghalaya.

The church revealed that this was the second case of attack of the same college by fringe elements who scaled the walls of the institution on December 30th, 2017 even as a posse of policemen stood as mute spectators.

A fact-finding team of lawyers deputed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) that visited the institution and met its inmates narrated the fear and apprehension surrounding the minority community.

The enquiry team stated in its report that Bajrang Dal activists shouted slogans against Christians and used abusive language. They also assaulted some of the brothers and forced them to raise Pro-Hindu slogans while no attempt was made by the police to stop the ongoing incident.

“This incident read with many other incidents, including those of cow vigilantes and communal statements issued by an MLA in UP threatening to break the limbs of cow killers in UP is a threat to the social harmony and development of the country. It appears that the fringe elements have the support of the respective state governments,” stated the Tura diocese of the Catholic Church.

In this context the church leaders have appealed to all to pray for the suffering brothers and sisters in North India as well as to observe Sunday, January 7th, as Day of Prayer to denounce anti-minority attitude especially against Christians by holding special prayers in the entire Garo Hills.