Attack on secular fabric of Indian Constitution continuing, upsurge in religious attacks dangerous for democracy and harmony of the country
Hindutva groups targeting Christians after continuous act of hatred against Muslims
New Delhi | December 18, 2017: National Alliance of People’s Movements expresses deep shock at the unprovoked violence against Christian priests and seminarians in Satna in the Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh on the night of December 14, 2017. A group of people hailing from Bajrang Dal attacked a group of 30 Seminarians and two Priests of St. Ephrem’s Theological College as they were conducting a routine Christmas carol singing programme which has been the practice during the Christmas season for the last 30 years.
The group came with lathis and started threatening the Priests and Seminarians. Just then they called the police, who arrived in just 15 minutes and taken all Priests and Seminarians to the police station. It is very shameful that during the celebrations, not even the police restricted them of their freedom of religious celebrations but also tortured them by putting all of them in a room which cannot accommodate even half of them. Later when other priests from nearby villages came to enquire, the police allegedly beaten them up and shamelessly acted against the spirit of constitution, leaving Bajrang Dal people untouched and free to do violence inside and outside the police station. They even torched vehicles of priests and beaten up in front of police officials which only proves their involvement in the alleged planned attack and harassment of religious minorities in the garb of prevention from religious conversions.
This is not standalone case but we are seeing this as a trend under the rule of current Government. In most of the BJP ruled states, it has seen a rise in the last three years. Only in Madhya Pradesh, a dozen of incidents happened in the past giving a strong indication of religious attacks by Hindutva groups maligning the secular fabric of the country and constitutional rights of citizens of India.
It is worrying that this incident of mobocracy occurs among a host of other incidents around the country. The video clipping of the gruesome murder of Mohammad Afrazul, a migrant worker from West Bengal who was hacked with a cleaver and then set on fire by a man in Rajasmand, Rajasthan on the suspicion of being in a relationship with a woman from another religious faith has gone viral and many Hindutva groups are being proud of the act and also unfurled the flag on Udaipur session court. Lynchings of more than 32 persons over the last two years almost all from one minority community on the suspicion of killing a cow or possessing beef is creating a fear psychosis among the minorities. These acts of Cow vigilantes do not being credit to our democratic nation with its long tradition of being the model of civilized living and harmonious existence in comparison to some other countries in neighbourhood.
The incident in Satna just a few days before Christmas is shameful and deplorable. Even worse, lynchings, mob attacks and brutal killings of innocent people with culprits often not being found or going unpunished for months are largely blots on our democracy and judiciary.
We condemn the inaction of government and connivance of police forces with the Hindutva groups in this incident. We are deeply concerned and hurt at this religious terrorism. We demand the political leadership at Centre and States to follow the rule of law, respect the Indian Constitution, and to immediately arrest and notify the groups those are continuously acting on the behest of saffron terror groups spreading hatred among different communities. Hate politics cannot take India forward and will only create divisions in the society.
Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)
Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM
Prafulla Samantara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan, and NAPM, Odisha
P.Chennaiah, Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union-APVVU and National Centre For Labour and NAPM (Andhra Pradesh)
Binayak Sen and Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
Gabriele Dietrich, Penn Urimay Iyakkam, Madurai and NAPM (Tamilnadu)
Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, (Tamilnadu)
Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party and NAPM, Uttar Pradesh
Sister Celia, Domestic Workers Union, and NAPM, Karnataka
Maj Gen (Retd) S. G. Vombatkere, Mysuru, NAPM, Karnataka
Arundhati Dhuru, Manesh Gupta, NAPM, Uttar Pradesh
Vilayodi Venugopal, CR Neelakandan and Prof. Kusumam NAPM, Kerala
Anand Mazgaonkar and Krishnakant, Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat
Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI and NAPM (Andhra Pradesh)
Vimal Bhai, Matu Jansangathan, NAPM, Uttarakhand
Dayamani Barla, Aadivasi-Moolnivasi Astivtva Raksha Samiti, NAPM Jharkhand
Dr. Sunilam and Adv. Aradhna Bhargava, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, and NAPM, Madhya Pradesh
Samar Bagchi and Amitava Mitra, NAPM West Bengal
Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, and Prasad Bagwe, NAPM Maharashtra
Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan
Gautam Bandopadhyay, NAPM, Chhattisgarh
Anjali Bharadwaj, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM
Kaladas Dahariya, RELAA, Chhatisgarh
Meera Sanghamitra, NAPM Telangana-Andhra Pradesh
Bhupender Singh Rawat, Jan Sangharsh Vahini, NAPM, Delhi
Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, NAPM Haryana
J S Walia, NAPM Haryana
Lingraj Azad, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti, and NAPM, Odisha
Guruwant Singh, NAPM Punjab
Richa Singh, Sangatin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, NAPM Uttar Pradesh
Arul Doss, NAPM (Tamilnadu)
Jabar Singh, NAPM, Uttarakhand
Sister Dorothy, NAPM Bihar
Kamayani Swami and Ashish Ranjan, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan, and NAPM Bihar
Mahendra Yadav, Kosi Navnirman Manch, NAPM Bihar
Basanat Hetamsaria and Ashok Verma, NAPM Jharkhand
Bilal Khan, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai and NAPM
Rajendra Ravi, Nanhu Prasad, Madhuresh Kumar, Sunita Rani, Amit Kumar, Himshi Singh, Uma, NAPM, Delhi
Aaquib Zabed Mazumder, Rajesh Serupally, NAPM, Telangana – Andhra Pradesh