Reaction against the Christian places of worship has not stopped the violence. Attack on priests, nuns and churches in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Orissa and now in Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh have been reported. The attacks have ranged from physically attacked, priests have been beaten, churches have been burnt and students have been man-handled.
While physical attacks of this nature continued, the sudden spurt of bomb blasts in and around churches is a recent development in the on-going violence. There was a series of blasts in the morning of 8th June, 2000 simultaneously at three places, Wadi in Gulbarga district of Karnataka, East Godavari in Andhra Pradesh and Vasco in Goa. Only a month later there was another incident of bomb blast in Hubli. Then there was yet another bomb blast in Bangalore.
It is quite significant to note that explosions took place in the premises of churches when there were no people present. The damage to the church property was extensive. Although there have been practically no injures to the people, the incidents have created a feeling of anger and fear among the Christian community.
In the two years since open attacks on Christians began, there was a common belief that the attacks were sponsored by the Hindu minded organizations. Opposition parties in the parliament have been trying to encase this theory because it is alleged that Bhartiya Janta party which heads the Govt. at the centre Karnataka police reveals an absolutely different picture.
Investigation into the latest bomb blast at a Church in Banglore reveals the involvement of a fanatical sect that not only shares anti-christian sentiments but it also has connections in Pakistan. Hence it may be assumed that the attacks on Christian community may be a planned strategy to bring bad name to India in International Community dominated by Christians.
An hour before the bomb blast in Church an explosion ripped through a van where two of the occupants were killed and the driver of the van was seriously injured. When house of the injured driver was searched, discriminatory information was found in the computer found therein. From the books and literature it was established that Ibraheim, the driver, is a member of a small organization called the DEENDAR CHANNA BASAVESHWARA SIDDIQE FIRQA. He had let out a part of his house to members of the sect. the leader of the sect Syed Ziaul Hasan is settled in the city of Mardon near Peshawar in Pakistan with the arrest of an Air Force Officer working for Deendar Chenna Basaveshware Siddique Firqua, involvement of this set in blast in and around churches is further confirmed. Thus it may be easily concluded that the attacks on Christian community in India are a part of Pakistan’s strategy to defame India.
There has been tremendous restraint shown by the Christian community and the Church despite these attacks although there is increasing demand for positive action by the government to stop this campaign. After the meeting of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican, leaders of the R.S.S. and its front organization have been asserting that they were in no way responsible for the attacks. These leaders saw in the allegations that Sangh pariwar was involved in the attacks on Christians an attempt to make pariwar’s “a whipping a boy” in order to defame the NDA Government. While condemning violence against the minorities or anyone else they reiterated the pariwar’s position that the issue of conversion carried out by the Christians may provoke protests from the people but the Pariwar would never resort to such means of disgrace and lowness.
The restraint shown by the Christian community is commendable. It would be better if media also shows the same amount of restrain and does not exaggerate the incidents which may sometimes be attributed to natural calamities or usual happenings. As an example, the version of Tamil Nadu police may be quoted where it is said that majority of incidents of fire in the state related to fire breaking out in make-shift thatched roof structures which serve as “Assemblies of God” which are vulnerable to fire, especially during Deepavali festival by the rockets and crackers fired by the children.
Although Government officials claim that the Government is doing all it can to restore confidence among the minorities but Christian leaders say that all this cannot help clear their suspicion about the involvement of some agency or the other, be it Sangh pariwar or the I.S.I. A well organized campaign will have to be launched for the safety of the minorities to provide a basis on which confidence can be built.