Saturday, October 11, 2008

Arise, Awake & Act…

Last week also had witnessed several oscillations in the Orissa carnage on Dalit Christians and the situation has not progressed to any better. For a quick scroll on the important happenings with regard to Orissa situation here is the precursor. The discussion in the Union Cabinet on the 7th October 2008 to ban the right wing terrorist outfit the Bajarang Dal, did not end up banning it, for the Prime Minister deferred the decision. A small team of Union ministers to be sent to Orissa to engage the Naveen Patnaik government in Orissa to persuade it to end violence against Dalit Christians, PM’s proposed visit to Orissa after the Puja festival, no unanimity in imposing the President’s rule in Orissa and meeting of Mr. L.K. Advani, the Leader of BJP Party with the Catholic leaders along on the initiative made by Swami Chidananda Saraswati were some of the other important issues in the week on Orissa.

Saffron Terror
When the Union cabinet discussed banning of Bajrang Dal, which has been mainly instrumental for the killings, arson and violence on Dalit Christians in Orissa, it was reported that the Prime Minister deferred the decision as there was no unanimity among their leaders and coalition partners. On the contrary, the Congress Party makes some hypocritical statements from within to ban Bajrang Dal for its uncontrolled inhuman activities. If Congress Party was so firm in the ban, they should have pushed the Prime Minister towards it or the Prime Minister should not have deferred the decision to ban since it was on the Congress Party’s agenda also. This again shows the lack of political will from both the Prime Minister and the Congress Party. Congress Party in getting support to its nuclear deal, even though Left, which was supporting from outside opposed it, sought for a consensus among its coalition partners and also rallied with new support from the Samajwadi Party in getting its agenda pushed at any cost. What happened to such a political will of Congress Party, which they showed during the Indo-US nuclear deal in banning Bajrang Dal? Could they not garner support for it? Whatever be the reason, one thing is clear that the Congress Party, which wants to appears to be secular is soft on Hindutva ideology and wants to appease both the victims and the perpetrators, which I think will lead to a fall at any time. And it is clear that Congress Party cannot ban neither the Bajarang Dal nor its ideology and activities and want to be neutral, which makes its secular credentials at stake. Congress Party is surely going to pay its price in the forthcoming elections for its softness in dealing the saffron terror in India.

Saffron Dialogue
If one extreme in the oscillation is not banning the Bajrang Dal the other extreme is the meeting Shri. L. K. Advani with the Church leaders, which surely calls the attention of all the citizens in India. It was reported that on the initiative made by Swami Chidananda Saraswati of Paramarth Nikethan, Rishikesh, that Archbishop of Delhi Vincent Concessao, Archbishop of Orissa Raphael Cheenath and Fr. Dominic Emmanuel from Delhi Catholic Archdiocese met Shri. L. K. Advani at his residence on the 8th October. A joint press statement was made by all these leaders, which condemned forced conversions and re-conversions and called it to be stopped. The statement also called on the Hindus and Christian leaders for Inter-Faith Dialogue, which should be held in the spirit of the report of the Inter- Faith Dialogue on Conversions, which was organised at the Vatican in May 2006 by the Pontifical Council for Inter- Faith Dialogue and the World Council of Churches, Geneva. Thanks to Shri. Advaniji for his gesture of meeting the Christian leaders and for calling on peace and harmony among all faiths in Orissa. Thanks also to Advaniji for affirming the code of condust as expressed in the Vatican and WCC documents on Conversion. Having said that, I am only surprised why Advaniji could not think of calling on the Christian leaders all these 45 days when violence was unabated. Why could not Advaniji call on the Christian leaders in Orissa, during his visit to Bhubaneswar in the last one-month? Why all of a sudden his deep concern to Christians at this juncture? If Advaniji is only eyeing for some political mileage by this dialogue, I am afraid such gestures as this without convictions for the cause may not be trustworthy and fruitful too. If Advaniji had such a concern on Christians, he could have as well told his Sangh Parivar to be controlled and not to attack the poor Dalit Christians in the name of religion. When nearly 50 people died, 310 villages affected, 15, 000 people forced to live in relief camps, nearly 4000 houses burnt and about 200 prayer houses and churches have been damaged and destroyed, and when after the damage has been made, why does Advaniji now think of Christians all of a sudden. Now that the damage has been made, Advaniji can only be a sympathetic visitor to the cause of Orissa.

Therefore, I would like to see the present Prime Minister and the projected Prime Minister to act swiftly and pro-actively, for attacks on Christians are not mere attacks on a religion, but they are attacks on the citizens of India and such an issue like this should have been dealt more securely and carefully. Violence on Dalit Christians is a breach of human rights and a violation of Constitutional rights and therefore needs to be addressed with much caution and sincerity. Unless the leaders come out of their individual political agendas, safety and security of the citizens in India will continue to be in peril. Let us all bind together to protect citizens from violence and attacks caused in the name of caste or creed. Arise, awake and act to save India.

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