On 9th April, 2017 the Jewish Passover and the Christian Palm Sunday, a prayer service where over a thousand people including two foreign pastors were expected to join, had to be cancelled because a militant Hindu group complained that the meeting was likely to lead to conversion of people to Christianity.
Earlier, on April 7, a prayer meeting of 150 people 10 of them foreign nationals, was interrupted and devotees including foreigners were rounded up taken to the police station (and later released) because Yogi Adityanath 's Hindu Yuva Vahini complained that conversions were likely to be made in the Prague meeting. When the papers of the foreign nationals were found in order and it was established that no conversions were to be held, they were let off. One of them asked a serious question from the tourist guide: "Is this what normally happens in India- you go to church, and get rounded up by the police?"
A searing question, and a serious one.
Very like the question being asked in Hyderabad where a priest who was distributing copies of the New Testament of the Bible was beaten till he lost consciousness and is in coma since then.
Or the question being asked by Compassion International, a child welfare Christian Charity based in Colorado Springs, USA who were told to stop funding Christian NGOs in India and to fund the RSS instead, forcing their head to ask, "Am I dealing with a Government here or with an ideological outfit furling the Government? "
Important questions. Questions we need to ask ourselves, and our government, and political parties as the World is watching us, shocked at what India has turned into within the past couple of years of BJP RSS rule.
How would we feel if such things happened to Hindus, Sikhs and Jains in the US or in Australia?
How many Non Christians in India are even aware that this is the special prayer season of Lent, the 40 day lead up to Easter, which is commemorated the Resurrection of Christ after his Crucifixion on Good Friday?
It's a time of fasting and abstinence and prayer and reflection for those who follow the Christian faith all over the world, as also in India.
And now, Lent is drawing to an end.
"Is this what normally happens in India- you go to church, and get rounded up by the police?"
It's a Holy Week for Christians.
The week of the Passion, the Trial, the Torture, the Crucifixion, the Burial and the Resurrection of Christ.
It was Shrove Tuesday yesterday, then tomorrow is Maundy Thursday followed by Good Friday and then Easter Sunday.
It is time of reflection, sadness then joy for the Christian community in the country.
Many Church and Community functions are scheduled in this period.
Where there is no Church building people gather for prayer in community halls and even in the open, in gardens and forest groves.
Why are these people being repeatedly attacked on one pretext or the other by violent groups all with formal or informal affiliations to the Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra agenda of the RSS and the BJP?
Does the Constitution of India not guarantee freedom to its citizens profess practice and propagate the religion of their choice?
Wake up India or Break up India!
No third option is in sight.
Even if there is an anti conversion law in a state and the Vigilantes suspect conversion related activities in these gatherings, as per law they can only lodge cases or inform the authorities with a request to enquire into the matter and take action as per law . Nothing gives them the right to take law into their own hands.
Interrupting and disrupting prayer meetings of any religion and manhandling the devotees and vandalising church property are serious crimes.
And the police have no right to stop prayer meetings on flimsy suspicions of conversion either.
This is like interfering with Yagya and Puja during Navratras or Namaaz and Iftaar during Ramzan.
This is a serious countrywide threat to India's social harmony.
This requires attention direction and immediate action at the highest level in the country- the PM, the President even the CJI of the Supreme Court if necessary!
Why are the three Dhritshahtras blind to this Open Cheerharan of the Draupadi that is Indian Secular -yes Secular, not pseudosecular or sickular as RSS stooges call it-Democracy?
Why are these triple Sphinxes so mysteriously blind deaf dumb- painfully silent about this outrage?
The World is watching. No self correction will invite a terrible Nemesis.
Wake up India Or Break up India! No third option is in sight
Our nation needs to be saved from the pseudo Nationalists, the ultra Patriots and the uber Militarists.
Hinduism needs to be saved urgently from destructive Hindutva.
Onwards, Secular Soldiers! Protest or Perish!
And it will not do for the Christians in India to protest against this open and shameless barbarism. Just as it is not for the Muslims of India to protest against the demonization of their faith and their way of life.
It is for the rest of us to stand up and be counted!