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Readymade targets
By Syed Ubaidur Rahman

A priest is hacked to death. Another tortured. Nuns beaten up by unruly mob who invade their peaceful churches. Convent schools ransacked by another groups and churches set ablaze. These have become the usual headlines of every national newspapers in our country. 

Attacks on Christian institutions have become widespread over last few months. But it took its first toll when Brother George Kuzhikandam, principal of St. Francis School was hacked to death by unidentified people on 8 June within sight of the Delhi Agra highway. His screams for help perhaps drowned in the roar of the thousands of trucks that speed along with their lighting flashing the whole highway. But none cared for the person who was murdered for none of his crime. It was not knew incident. Though the murder of the missionary was first of its kind in the area, but beating and harassment was not new for anyone. Father KK Thomas was battered close to death in Kosi Kalan a month back. And Sacred Heart Convent sisters were traumatized just a little more than a month ago. These were not sporadic incidents. It happened two dozen times in Haryana, UP, and several places since March this year. Brother’s cook who was detained by the UP police for investigations after the incident died in police custody. It has made all this more complex.

It was not long after this incident, when four bombs exploded in different churches in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa. There was another series of bomb explosions in Karnataka. But after all these incidents none in the government is ready to accept that these are organized crimes. Its toothless National Minority Commission is also crying hoarse in agreement, despite the open evidences that these are not sporadic incidents of violence and are well planned cases of hatred against a particular community. Venkiah Naidu, the BJP spokesman and several of its leaders claimed that these incidents are planned by the notorious ISI of Pakistan. 

Notwithstanding the clear evidences that indict organizations with a certain bend of mind the government, instead of punishing such elements mercilessly is trying to shield such people. To the total amazement of the minorities the government has remained unfazed by these incidents of brutality against a particular community.

The way the Christian minority is being targetted across the country by fundamentalist, especially after the BJP’s takeover of the government at the centre and state levels suggests a clear pattern and a definite purpose. In Mathura, the Bajrang Dal had organized a conference a couple of months ago and had called upon the people to work upon the conspiracy of conversion and has asked the people to check anti national activities. It was merely a week or so later when the attacks on Christians and their institutions started. 

Despite the assurances of the prime minister and other responsible people the fire of hatred is on rise. It has not ceased. None can think when someone might come and attack ones life. The violence continues to grow. There is another angle of the spread of the violence to the southern state. Perpetrators of these crime know that in north India it is a very small portion of Christian population that lives. Most of the Christians are from south India. So they have started targeting southern areas to terrorize the Christians. The Christians have questioned the wisdom of the comments that these are sporadic incidents f violence. The United Christians Forum for Human Rights has pointed out, how is that these gangs do not target Hindu temples? 

Hindu fundamentalist are targeting Christians because they believe that Christians will turn their other cheek instead of going for revenge. The thing that has strengthened their perception is the fact that Christians are in small numbers. The hoodlums believe that they can not come in the open to face their ire. It all has made them bold enough to chase this small minority everywhere. They believe that these people will not be able to face them. It is due to their small numbers that everyone comments whatever he wants.

It is because of this one fact that the Muslim minority in the country is being given a breathing space. For an attack, such as the recent incidents where a prayer house was demolished by Maharashtra government inside a Muslim cemetery, can spark off violence which will then tarnish the image of the NDA government and prevent it from playing its role of ‘impartial’ referee. And the force required to subdue the Muslim minority which has a more concerted presence in the country will be such that it will invite comments even from the international community which our national government is trying to placate.

It all reflect a legacy that believe in keeping a hate target to keep it floating above the layer. They also want to convince their people that they are always under siege by the minority communities as they will convert all of their follow religion brothers. Christians are easy target as they are being used by the ideological fascists who have surrounded the power structure in the country to generate the Christian versus Hindus insecurities. 

If the government does not step in to save the country from these fundamentalists, it will encourage these elements to do as they please. In a democratic secular country where people are given equal rights this sort of treatment is not going to set a good precedence. It all will not only keep the ruling party in a tight spot but will also provide meet to those allegation that the government is shielding the perpetrators.
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