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Is Modi government responsible for the rising religious intolerance in India?

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By Anurag Paul

In a few weeks Narendra Modi completes 300 days as the Prime Minister of India. He came into office riding a promise of development. But his term so far has been marred with the rise of incidents against the minorities in the country.

During his term, the incidents of communal violence have gone up, nearly 600 during last eight months. The associates of BJP have become more assertive and the intimidation of the religious minorities has gone up.

“The rape of the 70 year old catholic nun in Bengal two days ago and the vandalisation of a church being built in Hissar in Haryana, not very far from the national capital, New Delhi, are horrific incidents that need urgent intervention by the state governments,” Dr. John  Dayal, spokesman, United Christian Forum for Human Rights told NewsGram.

“What is happening in Pakistan has shocked the world, and the Pope has spoken against the persecution of Christians in that country. India is NOT Pakistan, and it is the duty of the elected governments to assure security.  It is scandalous that in Haryana, the local people are reported to be saying they will not tolerate a church in their locality. Freedom of faith is an important constitutional guarantee  for democracy in India. The community, and in fact any religious community for that matter, have a right to construct a place of worship in conformity with the rules and regulations,” he further added.

THERE WERE ABOUT 150 INCIDENTS OF ANTI-CHRISTIAN VIOLENCE IN 2014, INCLUDING TWO MURDERS.

There is patently a great chasm and disconnect between political pronouncements of religious freedom and protection of institutions and places of worship, and the reality on the ground,  both in cities, town and urban areas and in the villages. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who spoke at a Christian meeting reassuring religious minorities of their rights and security, has so far chosen not to comment or even identify the Ghar Wapsi, coercion and hostility to Christian worship and prayer services specially in rural areas in most parts of India. In the absence of a categorical denunciation of such acts, hate speeches and identifying those responsible, these elements who have powerful political support, enjoy immunity from police action.

“The constant attack on Christian minorities in India parallels the attacks on Christian minorities in Pakistan. What is the difference between Pakistan and India, when in both the countries, the Christian minorities are the targets of the majority,” said Father Dominic Emmanuel, Spokesperson, Delhi Church.

“All these incidents only points to targeting minority that is known for its services. Therefore We condemn all such atrocious activities,” he further added.

What happened actually in Hissar, Haryana?- NewsGram Investigation

Subhash Chand was pastoring a church in Kaimri village in Hissar districit of Haryana. Since February, this year they were constantly disturbed by the activists of Bajrang Dal. They used to come, knock the door, jump the wall in order to frighten Subhash Chand and his wife. Since the couple has no children, both of them were silently suffering the oppression. In order the avoid the constant attack by these Hindu extremists, they went for a while to Ambala.

The whole incident of placement of Hanuman idol in the church, theft and vandalisation of church property happened in the absence of the church priest.

Haryana has a BJP government since October last year. Local residents in the village alleged that the priest was trying to construct the church despite the fact that there was no Christian in the entire village.

 Subhash Chand lodged a complaint against 14 people, following which a case was registered by police under sections 147 (Punishment for rioting), 153A (promoting enmity between groups), 295 (destroying, damaging a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class of persons), 380 (theft in a building), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

The idol of Hanuman and the red flag has been confiscated by the Police.

Growing religious intolerance

Religious intolerance is growing ever since this government has come in to power, said Rev. Sunil Sardar, Convener, Satya Sodhak Samaaj Antarrashtriya.

“The ruling government has not been able to control the extremist Hindu groups like Bajrang Dal. Government’s silence on these issues and delayed response is frightening”, he added.

“We call upon the central and state governments to act in unison to identify communal elements, investigate this gang rape and all other cases expeditiously. Law and Order is a State subject,” said Mr Anurag Mishra, Chief Executive Officer, AMMI.

“It is therefore all the more necessary to expeditiously enact a law to prevent communal and targetted Violence.  Such a bill has been on the table of the Parliament since 2005.  Its enactment into law will go a long way in strengthening the secular ethos of India, and peace and harmony across the wonderful God-given diversity of the country.”, he added further.

Mr Dilip Mandal, Former Managing Editor of “India Today Magazine” accepted that the incidents of religious intolerance is the worst form of hegemony in which the quotient of the coercion is very high.

“It is problematic for me because it affects all religious lower caste Hindus, dalits, OBCs,  tribals, women, farmers and all marginalised sections of the society. Such incidents are against the pluralistic democratic ethos of the Indian Constitution drafted by the great visionary of our time, Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar,” he told NewsGram.

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Karnataka Polls: BJP On The Way to Win, Congress May Get Hard Defeat

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

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A state of 60 million people, Karnataka is home to the Information Technology hub of Benguluru and was ruled by the BJP once before.
Congress may have to taste defeat in Karnataka, VOA

The BJP was on Tuesday set to return to power in its southern bastion Karnataka as its candidates crossed the half-way mark in vote count, stunning and ousting the ruling Congress and leaving the JD-S at the third spot.

Noisy celebrations broke out in party offices in Bengaluru, New Delhi and across Karnataka as Bharatiya Janata Party nominees were on the victory lap in 118 of the 222 constituencies which voted on Saturday.

This was a dramatic jump from the 40 seats the BJP won five years ago.

The Congress, desperate to retain power in the state amid shrinking appeal nationally, suffered major blows and was ahead only in 62 seats, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah trailing in both the constituencies he contested: Badami and Chamundeshwari.

The Congress leader was way behind G.T Deve Gowda of the Janata Dal-Secular in Chamundeshwari, Election Commission officials said. And after leading initially, Siddaramaiah fell behind B.R. Sriramulu of the BJP in Badami.

In contrast, the BJP’s Chief Ministerial face B.S. Yeddyurappa was ahead of his Congress rival by more than 11,000 votes in Shikaripura.

Energy Minister and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar said that the numbers indicated that his party was on the way out after five years in power.

Any party or grouping will need 113 of the total 224 seats to secure a majority in the Assembly. Polling did not take place in two constituencies on Saturday.

The BJP was overjoyed. “We are in a jubilant mood because we have crossed the half-way mark. We are confident of winning,” spokesman S. Shantharam told IANS.

BJP activists and leaders celebrated noisily in both Bengaluru and New Delhi, waving party flags and shouting slogans hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, their main vote-getter, and party President Amit Shah.

There were also celebrations outside the residence of Yeddyurappa, who has been Chief Minister earlier too.

Of the 2,654 candidates in the fray for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections, at least 883 are crorepatis and 645 have criminal cases against them, said two watchdogs after analysing their affidavits filed with the Election Commission (EC).
Karnataka Polls counting suggests big win for BJP, wikimedia commons

The Janata Dal-Secular of former Prime Minister H.D. Dewe Gowda, which has been expected to play the role of a kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly, was leading in 40 seats — the same number it won five years ago.

As the vote count progressed, BJP leaders became assertive, saying they were confident of taking power again in Karnataka while Congress leaders began to speak about the possibility of an alliance with the JD-S.

BJP leader and Union Minister Sadanand Gowda said that there was no question of any alliance.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who is in charge of Karnataka, met BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi.

Analysts said the BJP was leading in Lingayat dominated seats and the JD-S in Vokkaliga dominated areas.

Expectations of a BJP victory in Karnataka lifted the key Indian equity indices during the mid-morning trade session on Tuesday.

Modi’s Performance: Survey Reports That Significant Number of People Rate Performance of Modi Government as Below Expectations

According to market observers, broadly subdued Asian indices and disappointing macro-economic inflation data points released on Monday capped some gains.

Sector-wise, healthy buying was witnessed in banking, capital goods, metals, consumer durables and automobile stocks.

The Sensex has so far touched a high of 35,993.53 points and a low of 35,498.83 points during the intra-day trade. (IANS)