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A Seven-Month Pregnant Christian Lady Drenched With Petrol By Bajrang Dal In Chattisgarh

By Shubhda Chaudhary

26 April, 2016

The continuous vitriolic communal polarization in India can be analyzed with the orchestrated manner in which the religious minorities are being vandalized and assaulted in the country. The recent victim of Bajrang Dal, the militant Hindu Organization, has been the Christian minority in Chattisgarh. On 23rd March, a church in Raipur had been vandalized by the members of Bajrang Dal where a couple as well as women and children present were attacked.

Pastor Dinbandhu Sameli along with his seven-month pregnant wife and daughter Roushni Vidya were attacked by the members, who were carrying pistols, knives and rods. They also wanted to set the church on fire. Arun Pannalal who is the President of Chhattisgarh’s Christian Forum stated that the attacks were carried out by the members of Bajrang Dal and the police is playing a pivotal role in covering the incident and not carrying out any legal action against it.

The manner in which the police is treating this incident reveals that how state is acting in tandem with the Hindu fundamentalists and the Christian Community is being assaulted.

Also, even if the attackers are arrested, there are still loopholes on the charges on which they would be punished. Certainly, the police cannot charge them with criminal conspiracy or attempt to murder but there are no sections in the penal code which can match the gravity of setting a seven-month pregnant mother to fire. Thus, the police has current registered FIR on the basis of sections like 452 which deal with house trespassing, 395 which involves dacoity and 435 which deals with causing damage by committing mischief by fire.

The Chhattisgarh Evangelical Foundation reveals that over the period of time, the attacks on Christian community have increased. The attacks, along with being physical in nature are also consolidated by the state-sponsored coordination of people who are in power. Along with it, there are even villages in Chattisgarh, amounting to 150 or more, which from 2013 had banned the entry of non-Hindus within their premises. Though, this resolution was struck down by the court as they were considered unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, Chattisgarh is one of the five states in the country which has passed the ‘anti-conversion’ law. Though interestingly, those who want to return to their original faith can once again convert back and there is no such restriction on them. This reveals the hidden agenda of the Hindutva fanatics who have been trying to co-opt various ways of garnering militant and political momentum to their defined idea of Hinduism.

Adding to all this, the churches in Bastar particularly have been ordered to put pictures of Hindu Goddess Saraswati if they want to be protected. The Hindu fundamentalists are also forcing the churches to have an idol of the Goddess in their premises. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad has also banned the distribution of sweets by Santa Claus on the pious celebration of Christmas day.

Unfortunately, such news, in spite of being very tormenting and heart-wrenching are not able to make news and the Christian community of Chattisgarh are being ignored from the media. It is a threat to their privacy, security and life. Definitely, such attacks against them would increase if not checked by the state administration in time.

Shubhda Chaudhary is a PhD scholar at JNU. She can be reached at shubhda.chaudhary@gmail.com



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