Christians fear illegal survey preparation for violence
AHMEDABAD: Christians in the western Indian state of Gujarat have alleged the government is collecting information on their community through illegal surveys.
It is the second time this year that such claims have been made against the state government, which was condemned by rights groups for allegedly turning a blind eye to large-scale religious violence in 2001 when up to 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed. Christians say police in the northwest Patan district, 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the state’s commercial capital Ahmedabad, have approached Christian missionaries and families to find out about their activities and background. In a statement late Monday, the All India Christian Council (AICC) said the community was living in fear. “We are scared that what the government did to Muslims last year, it will do to us,” said Samson Christian, AICC joint secretary.
“Their intolerance towards people of any community other than Hindus is very frightening and such illegal surveys compound our fears.”
Gujarat, which has a negligible Christian population, is ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharat Janata Party (BJP), which also leads the federal coalition government. The BJP propagates the ideology of a Hindu nation. The AICC statement said Father Munnu from a Catholic mission was woken up at midnight over the weekend and interrogated by a police inspector. “Earlier, some people had posed as media persons and taken pictures of the Father’s house and the Church,” said Christian. —AFP