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Christians up in arms against profiling order in MP

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Christians in Madhya Pradesh are demanding probe by a Central agency over a police circular on 22 March that ordered profiling of Christians and churches in the state. The order has triggered alarm and anger in the community. The Madhya Pradesh government immediately revoked the order following protest from the Christian community. The state government while withdrawing the controversial order said that the circular had been issued accidentally and it was not aimed at profiling the community. Madhya Pradesh director general of police SK Raut in an interview said the order was a mistake and has ordered the state intelligence chief to investigate the source of the circular. On receiving complaint from the Christian community, the National Commission for Minorities has taken serious note and has assured that it would take up the case with the state government at the earliest. HT Sangliana, NCM vice president in an interview said, “It has been decided that the full commission would visit Madhya Pradesh soon to take stock of the situation on the ground. We would like to know who ordered such a survey and what the intention behind it was. If it is done with an intention to harass and repress the Christian community then it is really unfortunate.” The Catholic Bishops Conference of India, the highest body of Christians is also planning to send a delegation to the President, Prime Minister and Home Minister to address the controversial issue. John Dayal, secretary general of the All-India Christian Council in an interview said, “The damage has already been done even if the police have withdrawn the order. Such orders are not born in a vacuum. The Madhya Pradesh government should explain from where the idea originated and the reasons behind it.” Congress has termed the profiling issue as unfortunate. While, Badal Saroj of CPI-M said that it appears there is secret RSS cell within the police headquarters in Bhopal.

In a statement issued on 22 April,  Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, Working President of the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, the umbrella body of Indian Muslim organisations, described this as “very disturbing”. He said that though the state government has claimed to have withdrawn these orders and a low level probe is also said to have been ordered, the issue should not be allowed to die down as it is a clear indication that the Hindutva forces continue their sinister plans to hit communities and groups they do not like. A proper high level investigation is needed to uncover this particular malicious project whose results, no doubt, were to be used by Hindutva elements against the target community just as they did earlier in Gujarat during the 2002 pogroms when the Muslim community was meticulously targeted using lists prepared in advance. The information collected by the Census should be sufficient for any official and developmental needs. The Union home ministry should take notice and make sure that no such profiling of target communities and groups takes place in BJP-ruled states where Hindutva elements have a field day, Dr Khan said adding that in addition to the continuing attacks on Muslim communities, the Christian community and its institutions too are under constant attack in BJP-ruled states while the Central government failed to take notice to date.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2011 on page no. 5

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