ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Claims of Tolerance, Acts of Violence

Acts of Violence ON February 14, around 60 activists of RSS, VHP and ABVP stoned the Catholic Hospital Association of India (CHAI) camp at Nandurga village at Latur region, beat up the camp chief, Father Jeevendra Jadhav, Sister Merlyn, Sister Annie and Dr Joshi. This was following the stone-throwing on the tin shed in which the camp is located. The attack was planned as a protest against CHAI camp indulging in conversions. Between 1995 and 1997, 15 children, belongs ing to the families of victims of earthquake disaster, from Nandurga were sent to Catholic boarding schools. The transfer certificate of two of the students showed their caste as Hindu-Christian and Buddhist-Christian, Since the regular system of school transfers has been quite chaotic after the earthquake, it is not known as to how exactly this came to happen. This gave the votaries of Sangh parivar the pretext enough to get thestudents' names published in a Sholapur Marathi daily, as evidence enough for the 'conversion' activities of the missionary schools, and to circulate a copy of the news item in Nandurga, and later to plan the attack on the CHAI camp. On March 4, at the Polo ground studium situated on Baroda's Rajmahal road about 100 activists of the VHP barged in and went on a rampage disrupting the Jesus festival organised by a body called Breakthrough Local Church (BLC). The VHP contended that the Yeshu festival was a pretext to proselytise the people. They destroyed the podium, set fire to a Maruti Zen car and beat up people who had assembled for the festival. Later. VHP activists openly moved about in the trucks shouting slogans. This comes in the backdrop of increasing tempo of anti- minority intimidation and now more so against the Christian missionaries. One remembers in this context, the brutal attack on Sister Rani Maria who was hacked to death in Indore, and also the equally frightening humiliation of a priest in Dumka, who was stripped naked and paraded on the charges of sodomy, In most of the cases the attitude of the police and the state is most irresponsible to say the least. Both these incidents occurred in states where there are BJP or BJP-led coalition governments, and that they have occurred in the post-election scenario when the BJP-led coalition has finally assumed the power at the centre, in the process emboldening the paraphernalia of the Sangh pari var, the RSS, the VHP, the ABVP, etc. It is pertinent to add that the Hindutva ideologues have been shouting themselves hoarse that Hinduism is a most tolerant religion, that it is superior to other religions as it does not enforce proselytisation,

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