Christian concern at RSS parade with Guns, Modi sacking nuns from hospital
All India Christian Council's Press Statement
Milli Gazette Online
Christian concern at RSS parade with Guns in
Narendra Modi sacking Catholic Nuns of
Ahmedabad leprosy Hospital
6 April 2006: The Christian community has expressed its alarm at the naked display of armed strength by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in Jhansi and its coercion of the minority communities in various states, particularly Rajasthan and Gujarat.
In a letter this morning to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Dr John Dayal, secretary general of the Christian Council, President of the Catholic Union and Member of the Government of India’s national Integration Council, apprised him of the fears of the minority communities in general and the Christian community in particular over the recent developments.
In his letter, Dr Dayal said: “The political and administrative heads of State governments, and the law and order and criminal justice system, who bothers to take suo moto cognisance of matters that not only disturb religious micro-minorities such as Christians most severely, but, in my opinion, have a profound bearing on the strength of our nation’s federal democratic structure, and eventually, its peace and its integrity.
“The Union government can, if it so wants, ensure that errant States do not enforce bigoted regulations or discriminate on grounds of religion as if they were not bound by the niceties of the country’s historic secular ethos and its international commitments. A decline in the sense of confidence and security of weak religious and other minorities does take away from what an 8 or 10 per cent annual economic growth seeks to build.
“You are of course aware of the single-minded pursuit of a communal agenda by the Government of the State of Rajasthan, both in the case of the Emmanuel Mission as also in bringing the so-called Freedom of Religion Bill.
I bring to your notice two more major events in the last two days that cause grave concern.
“The naked display of armed might by the RSS in Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh even as people in many parts were participating in democratic elections to State assemblies, has traumatised minorities far and away. The entire nation saw on live Television the private army of the RSS boastfully marches through the city with guns in their hands – many of them modern weapons and some muskets which exist in large numbers in both rural and urban India. The commanders of this private army left no one in any doubt why they had graduated from the wooden lathis or staves on to modern automatic weapons. Some of them on TV even compared it to Flag Marches by the Army – almost as if the nation has given the now fully armed RSS total responsibility of its defence and internal security. The TV news reports also made clear that the RSS had defied the civil authorities and violated the Arms Act. And Uttar Pradesh, in which State the town of Jhansi is, is not even ruled by the BJP. You can imagine what these armed cadres can do with the patronage of the State governments – and such patronage and support exists in Gujarat, Rajasthan and other States.
“Equally bizarre and violent in impact, though differently, is the Gujarat government’s annexation of the Leprosarium in Ahmadabad, the sacking of the half a dozen Catholic Religious Sisters, or Nuns, who were in charge, and their final ejection from the Ave Maria Convent in the institute which had been their home for Sixty years. It was back in 1949, soon after Independence, that the then Government of Bombay had invited Jesuit Father Villalonga to kindly manage the leprosy menace in the city if Ahmadabad. He took the assistance of the Kumbakonam based Franciscan sisters of FMM, led by Sister Naemi, who ran a huge leprosy hospital in south India, to take charge. The Government and the Bishop signed an MOU, the Nuns were invited to set up the Ave Maria Convent and a series of disused buildings were given them for the new leprosy hospital financed by the government. Working for a pittance of an honorarium, the Nuns took up the challenge and their work of 60 years is now legendary. The five year MOU was routinely extended over the decades. Till last month. The Sisters did not think anything was amiss when the Health Commissioner told them that the MOU would be revived soon, even if the old one was to end on 31 March 2006. It was by happenchance that one Sister saw a letter sent by the Government to a senior lady doctor asking her to take over charge from the Nuns. Simultaneously, the Nuns were given a couple of days to vacate their convent. The Health Commissioner expressed his helplessness. The orders had come from the political bosses. The victims are not the Nuns, but the hapless patients. But it is clear why the Nuns were sacked, dispossessed of their home and thrown out of the hospital. For their religion, though a Leprosarium is hardly the place for
“Dear Prime Minister, the time has come for a serious look at this pattern of hate against Christians. This is not the average communal riot or victimization which sporadically bursts out, and then dies out. This is a sustained terror campaign against our community, even if each incident is separated from the next in space and time. May I request you therefore most humbly that the Union Government do consider comprehensive political and administrative measures that send out the correct signals to the guilty, and extend assurances to the victims, “ Dr Dayal said.
ALL INDIA CHRISTIAN COUNCIL
Regd. Office: 8-2-601/B/17 Bhanu Society Banjara Hills, Hyderabad 500034 Andhra Pradesh, India
President: Dr Joseph D’ Souza
Secretary General: Dr. John Dayal, Member, National Integration Council, Government of India
Please correspond with Secretary General at:
505 Link Society, 18 I.P. Extension, Delhi 110092 India
Phone (91 11) 22722262 Mobile 09811021072