The hype of Christian persecution in India


The mainstream media and other opinion makers have developed a Pavlovian response to the events involving the Christians in India. Any atrocity against them and any attack on churches are almost immediately blamed on Hindu groups. At the same time, the persecution and genocide Christians are facing all over the world at the hands of Islamists is either ignored or downplayed.

So, in Agra, a church is attacked, and the finger of suspicion points towards saffron groups. Now, we learn that it was a Muslim youth who had vandalized the place of worship, smashing the statutes of Infant Jesus and Mother Mary, because the Christian girl to whom he had proposed did not respond in the affirmative. She used to visit the church. Evidently, Hindu groups had nothing to do with the incident, but appeared to be the prime suspects.

A few weeks before that incident, a 72-year-old nun was raped during an assault at a convent school in West Bengal. Hindu outfits were blamed without any proof. Later, the four rapists were found to be Bangladeshis. The first suspect, Sikander Sheikh alias Salim, was arrested from south Mumbai by cops in the last week of March.

Earlier, too, there were several attacks on churches and, typically, saffron groups were alleged to be behind them. Between December last year and February there were six such incidents, all of them in the national Capital. The first was burning of St. Sebastian Church at Dilshad Garden; it is being probed by a Special Investigative Team (SIT) constituted by the Home Ministry.

Then there was the incident of alleged stone-throwing, resulting in a shattered window pane, at Jasola. The Delhi Police Commissioner told the media after investigation that some children were playing outside; the “attack” was because of kids’ naughtiness rather than some grand communal design.

The third incident at Rohini, in which the Christmas crib was burnt, was because of an electrical short circuit. The fourth “attack” at Vikaspuri was the collateral damage of a drunken brawl; they were even caught on CCTV. The fifth and sixth incidents in south Delhi were cases of burglary.

In its report to the Union Home Ministry, the Delhi Police not only denied any pattern or design but also pointed out towards the lack of communal flare-up in the localities in which incidents had taken place. Further, they added that temples, mosques, and gurdwaras were also subjected to burglary.

Now, it is true that the Delhi Police is under the Union Home Ministry, and so it is expected to say things their political masters want them to say; but it is also true that their findings have not been contradicted with evidence by those who scream that the Christians have been persecuted since the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power. Nor has the mainstream media found anything amiss in the Delhi Police report.

It is a well-known fact that many Hindu leaders are critical of the activities of Christian missionaries; some of them have used offensive language while talking about the minorities; but there is a difference between strong views and felonious acts. If there are campaigners who indulge in violent anti-Christian activities, they should be punished in accordance with the law, but to blame all Hindu leaders for every wrong is unjust.

While the media accuses Hindu outfits of every wrongdoing against Christians, it remains to keep Muslim excesses under wraps. Consider the case of Pastor C.M. Khanna. About four years ago, he was accused of forced conversion of Muslims in Jammu & Kashmir by the state’s grand mufti—yeah, grand mufti. When it comes to Kashmir, all the grand notions about keeping the state and religion apart are given a silent burial; dumped along with are the ideas of peaceful coexistence, tolerance, equal respect for all faiths, etc. Mufti Mohammad Bashiruddin heads the Supreme Court of Islamic Jurisprudence in Kashmir. The mandate was obvious: to implement Shariat, which is the antithesis of all that the Indian Constitution and modernity stand for.

The grand mufti was an activist, with a court which could summon the accused; it did summon Pastor Khanna who denied the allegations. In a state where jihad is writ large, one has to be immensely credulous to believe that Muslims can be forcibly converted to Christianity or, for that matter, any other faith.

The Indian media largely ignored the persecution of Khanna and other Christians; there were brief reports with no follow-ups. I don’t recall Parliament getting stalled over the issue, intellectuals writing angry letters to editors, professional radicals organizing protest marches, heated public debates, Arnab Goswami or the nation wanting to know the plight of Khanna & Co. Nor is any important journalist discussing the plight of the Christians in the Middle East who are being massacred, driven out, raped, and enslaved by Muslim supremacists.

But, in liberals’ scheme of things, Hindus can do nothing right and Muslim nothing wrong. This is desi secularism—or, to use a popular Internet term, ‘sickularism.’