By Anurag Paul
Clearing the fog over the incident of church demolition in Hisar, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar explained to the Assembly that the building was reportedly built on an illegal colony and the dispute was the result of an altercation between the priest and those who attacked the place of worship.
In Hisar allegations of involvement of fringe Hindu groups have been made. CM Khattar explained to the House that the priest, Subhash Chand, had started preaching from the Bible to the 10 to 12 workers involved in constructing the structure on February 8. “Some people from Kaimri and Hisar had opposed it then, but the village sarpanch had settled the matter,” he said, adding that an FIR was registered against 14 people on the priest’s complaint.
While backing the Haryana CM, VHP joint general secretary Surendra said “This is a spontaneous reaction of the local people. There are no Christians living in the village or around it where the church has been attacked. Then why was a church being made in that location? Will the Christians allow us to make a Hanuman temple in the Vatican? Let them allow that, and we will ask them to choose any place in India for a church. We will fund it.”
On the gang-rape of a nun in West Bengal, Jain said it should be considered as a criminal offense and not through the prism of faith. “It is a Christian culture to exploit nuns. We don’t have such things. The Vatican received 5,000 complaints of sexual exploitation in five years, prompting the pope to appeal for legalization of gay sex,” Jain said.
He also claimed that the allegations of communal overtones in the gang rape of a nun in Nadia in West Bengal were a conspiracy of the church and that sexual exploitation of nuns was a Christian culture, and not of Hindus. He said the Pope is so worried about rape of nuns that he is promoting gay sex to stop it.
In both Hisar and Nadia incidents, allegations of involvement of fringe Hindu groups have been made. But VHP on Monday categorically denied its involvement. “The church was for the purpose of conversion. Local people had warned against it. But when it went unheeded, they took whatever action they deemed fit.”, he further added. Indicating that such attacks would keep on happening, Jain said, “This is a country where the 1857 war was fought for the cause of religion. People will react to aggressive conversion, just as they reacted to the killing of Swami Laxmananda in Odisha in 2008.”
The VHP member also supported the statement of Subramanian Swamy that “God does not live in mosques but in temples”. “This is a truth that even Muslims agree to. Ask any Muslim if Allah lives in the mosque and he will reply in the negative. Saudi Arabia has demolished so many mosques for developmental work, nobody has objected,” he said.
The CM also gave details of a complaint made by a village youth who alleged that Chand had made objectionable comments about Hindu gods. “The youth was shunted out and beaten up when he opposed the priest’s statement,” Khattar said, quoting from the youth’s complaint.
Soon after Khattar’s statement, Congress MLAs, including Karan Singh Dalal, stood up to blame an organization connected with the BJP for the attack on the church. Dalal suggested the constitution of an all-party committee to look into the issue.