Will USCIRF visit convents where nuns are raped?

via Hilda Raja published on May 16, 2009




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government’s unprecedented step of inviting the United States Commission on
International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to visit Gujarat and Orissa is not
only disturbing, but also portents greater harm to the harmony and unity of the


It exposes India to
international policing which has ramifications on the integrity and sovereignty
of the nation. Today it can be a Commission; why not later an army for the
purpose of protecting minorities? The basic premise is the same.


let’s imagine that the Commission faults the government of both States for
failure to protect minorities. Should Naveen Patnaik and Narendra Modi appear
before this Commission and plead guilty – or plead innocent – and with all
humility accept the penalty it will impose? Can there be a greater insult to
democracy and to the sovereignty of this country?


It is invasion
– be it territorial, social or religious. No matter which area, invasiveness of
any kind cannot be accepted. What is the role of the Congress-led UPA
government? Does it not stand indicted for impotency to curb violence? It
cannot abdicate responsibility and obligation to protect minorities and rein in
State governments. If this is logically followed, the accused is the Congress Manmohan
Singh – proof of his political weakness. Which country would tolerate such
invasion and interference in its internal affairs? Are we bonded to the USA ? No
patriotic Indian, irrespective of religion, would accept the policing of this
nation by outside agencies.

Can the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) and the INDIANChurches
which objected to such invasiveness nine years ago now make a U-turn? In the
course of five years, what is the persecution witnessed in India . Brahmin
Pundits killed in hundreds and chased away from J&K under ethnic cleansing
has not raised international concerns. The furore caused by wrongful reporting
of the rape of five nuns in Jhabua was set right when the nuns themselves gave
interviews stating it had nothing to do with religion. Indeed, the culprits
were converted tribals.


In Orissa, the
massacre of Swami Laxmanananda and his disciples led to clashes in which
Christians and Hindus were equally victims. The infamous Gujarat riots are
being investigated by the Special Investigation Team, but earlier versions and
gory stories of brutality, rape and massacres narrated by activist Teesta
Setalvad were found faked, cooked up, witnesses and statements doctored; hence
the Supreme Court rejected the bundle of lies.


Against this
backdrop, Congress allowing USCIRF to enquire into violence against minorities
is political in intent and has everything to do with further dividing the
people on religious grounds. Will USCIRF be allowed to enter Pakistan or any
Islamic country where there is discrimination against minorities?


Congress and
Christian churches seem to conspire against Hindus. This is evident when one
looks at the pre-election scenario. In April, the Catholic Bishops Conference
of India issued a ‘Ten Commandments’ type of list of dos and don’ts for
Catholics. Sure, it did not specify which party to vote for. But this was
followed by a number of churches scripting prayers for the ‘flock,’ couched
in appeals to God to bring in a party which will allow religious freedom and
uphold the same guaranteed in the Constitution. Across India , the
entire Christian community was galvanized by such covert campaigning. In
Karnataka, a priest had the audacity to openly tell the ‘flock’ not to vote
for the BJP. Joining hands with Muslim leaders, Catholic leaders also issued a
fatwa, overtly and covertly compelling the ‘flock’ to vote for Congress.


The Election
Commission is unmindful of this religio-political mix; this blatant
communalism. When Advani appeals to Hindu religious leaders, the EC becomes
alert and people like John Dayal condemn it. It is only when Hindu
organizations and BJP politicians appeal to people that the ire of the EC is
provoked. Then the media comes out with secular advocacy and condemns the
communalism of BJP and its allies.


double-speak has exposed its ulterior motive – nine years ago (Sept 2000) CBCI
described as “unwarrantedâ€

the proposed hearing on religious freedom in India by USCIRF,
and distanced itself from John Dayal, saying he was attending it in his
individual capacity. It is relevant to recall what Christian MPs felt then.
They acknowledged the need to curb the influence of fundamentalists over the
community and the Church. By deposing before the US panel, Dayal has given Hindu
extremist groups valid reason to doubt the integrity of the community and ‘we
could just be inviting Hindu extremist backlash’ rued Patty Ripple Kyndiah,
who added that the antics of John Dayal is against national interest. Former
Speaker P.A. Sangma endorsed Kyndiah, ‘This is our internal problem. We are
capable of solving it’.

What has changed in nine years? The number of churches built has increased more
than hundred fold. Christian institutions are given all financial assistance,
Christians have occupied hundreds and hundreds of acres of  promboke land
on which they quickly erect a shack and a cross – for further constructing
pucca buildings, both commercial and religious. Thus occupying the land, they
acquire assets, evade tax, and even electricity charges.


It is in the
national interest to survey the status of Churches property-wise and cash-wise.
When in so-called Christian countries churches are closing down, here in India churches
are annually increasing in number. Even in Italy , churches are empty but here
churches are full every Sunday and the pulpit is used even against the
government, but goes unchallenged.


From a poor
country like ours, money flows to Rome , from
congregations working for the poor and destitute in India
, money flows to Vatican
. Are these signs of a persecuted church? The flow of money to churches and
church-allied ‘development organizations’ has trebled in the last five
years, on Government of India records. Is this a sign of a church under duress?


Why should
money from here go to Rome/Vatican? The Cross is not a sign to camouflage lies
and cover truth. The church by its anti-national stand is crucifying Truth.
Jesus was faithful to his Jewish traditions and to insult that he was crucified
naked on the cross (no loin cloth), so the Bible states. Why should a people
who proclaim that they stand for His values become anti-national and betray
their own country and countrymen?


One is first
an Indian – for one cannot change one’s nationality but can change one’s
religion. The CBCI and laity leaders cannot do greater harm to the community
than participate in the USCIRF sittings. In fact, they should have protested
against this unprecedented move of the Congress under Ms. Sonia Gandhi.


The Christian
community cannot be mortgaged for her ulterior political motives. Religion is
an emotive issue and once people are permanently divided, national unity will
be a thing of the past; at the drop of a hat the country can erupt into civil
war. Every communal riot if objectively analyzed was a backlash, and the poor,
irrespective of religion, were the victims. The power games of the powerful
have torn nations apart by war followed by famines leading to total destruction
and subjugation of people.


in our internal affairs must be seen in wider perspective. Invasiveness of any
kind in the affairs of a sovereign country means two things – the supervisory
role of the invasive country/organizatio n and the subjective, subservient
level of the interfered country.


We have a
democracy and a Constitution which has stood us well. Except for some
aberrations brought by vest interests, the people have always been able to
overcome this and to set the tone and tenure for harmonious unity.


India is the
only country in the world which has opened its arms to all religions and all
people and thus become the cradle of world religions. Fringe Christian churches
have been misusing Freedom of Religion for proselytizing, poaching on other
churches as well, and creating social tensions. One is not judged by one’s
religion, but will be judged by the measure of love one has lived with and the
Truth one has upheld.

PS: Would the Church permit USCIRF to visit the convents which have reported
rapes, sexual violations, murders and oppression of women (nuns).


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