Christian Council rejects talks with RSS


79/B I & II Floors, Street 8, West Marredpally, Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

President: Dr. Joseph D' Souza Secretary General: Dr. John Dayal


Hyderabad, 7 September 2001

(The following statement was released by All India Christian Council at a Press Conference in Hyderabad addressed by, among others, Dr K Rajaratnam, senior-most Christian leader in India, Council President Dr. Joseph D' Souza, Secretary General Dr. John Dayal and Mr. Abraham Mathai, Maharashtra State Minorities Commission member, after the meeting of the Council's National Executive in Hyderabad.)

The All India Christian Council is alarmed at the fresh wave of violence against the community in various parts of the country. Brutal assaults have taken place against priests, evangelists and Church organisations in several states. This violence is accompanied by a high-pitched hate campaign by members of the Sangh Parivar, many of whose cadres are now well trained in the use of firearms.

The National and state governments are aware of this violence even though police is often reluctant to register the complaints of the victims. It does not surprise us anymore that the leaders of the Central government do not take corrective action. We have come to expect that the Prime minister and his ministers at various official functions to defend, praise and uphold the political elements behind the violence.

There is official connivance in helping the Sangh Parivar build a web of lies and disinformation to malign and demonise the minority communities in general and Muslims and Christians in particular. In fact, there is constant pressure from the Hindutva Parivar, its protégés, patrons and friends in the Union Government that the Christian community dialogues with Sangh Parivar if the community is to feel safe and secure in the country. It is made clear that this dialogue is to be confined to the Christian community disowning its Constitutional right to propagate its faith. We regret that a Constitutional institution such as the National Commission of Minorities has allowed itself to be used by the ruling political group in propagating this doctrine.

We reject this concept of a dialogue at gunpoint with the Sangh Parivar, a political entity whose ideology violates the basic tenets of democracy and the Constitution of India. Such dialogue also forsakes other minority communities who are also targets of the Sangh Parivar. And it is a betrayal of our secular friends in Civil society who have fearlessly stood with us in the time of our trials and tribulations. They are the ones who have denounced the Private members Bill on Religion, the atrocious abuse of Visa provisions and the constant threat of FCRA and similar instruments used by the government to terrorise and tame the minorities and civil society. We call for a dialogue between religious communities, between religious leaders of all communities in the construction of civil society and restoring to Indian civilization its pristine plural culture. We also call for civil solidarity in defence of the sanctity of the Constitution of India, as the foundation of a nurturing democracy where the minorities are genuinely safe and secure and not thrown to the mercy of marauding bands of organised and armed fundamentalists. Such solidarity will prevent future tragedies.

The All India Christian Council, in a historic Hyderabad Declaration, has also reaffirmed its Solidarity with the Dalits, Tribals and the Poor of India and has committed its vast membership to fully participate in their struggle for emancipation, their share of resources, and above all, their Dignity as Human Beings. The Council sent it's Secretary General Dr John Dayal and Secretary Mr. Sam Paul to participate in the UN sponsored World Conference against Racism and other Intolerances WCAR held at Durban, South Africa. We fully endorse the articulation of the Dalits of many countries at Durban that their plight needs an international scrutiny if it is to end. The Council expresses its deep distress at the starvation deaths in some states despite large food stocks. The Council congratulates the Supreme Court for its directives to governments on this issue. After succumbing to the pressures of globalisation, governments have abdicated their social responsibility in the spheres of health, education, and civil distribution. The Poor of India are the victims of both neglect and callous policies.

Released for publication by Dr. John Dayal

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