Assam: Christians refuse to participate in a police investigation into church activities


By Muslim Mirror

Christians in Assam, India, have decided not to cooperate with the police, who have begun a survey to gather information about Catholics, their churches, institutions, and religious conversions.

Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati said that the Christians in the state saw the circular issued by the Assam police department on December 16 as discriminatory because it singles out Church activities.

“Catholic parishes and institutions have refused to give details because the government and state chief minister himself has disowned it,” said Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati told Union of Catholic News.

Following the Christians’ objections to the circular, the state’s Chief Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, denied it during a press conference.

The leader of the state government’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party stated that his administration does not want any survey of Christian activities in the state.

“I completely dissociate myself from the [police] circular,” Sarma told reporters.

According to the circular, the authorities wanted to collect data on the number of churches established in the previous year, instances of religious conversions in the previous six years, and the primary factors leading to conversions. The circular also asked the police to identify people working for religious conversions.

“Why only Christians are being targeted? Why not details about temples and mosques or other such institutions?” asked Allen Brooks, a spokesperson for Assam Christian Forum, which represents all denominations in the state.

The circular has “created panic” in neighboring Meghalaya, which is a Christian-majority state.

The Catholic Association of Shillong in Meghalaya, in a joint statement with the All India Catholic Union and the Shillong Archdiocese Catholic Youth Movement on Jan. 3, accused the government of Assam of being hostile to Christian minorities.

The circular is intended to “intimidate and threaten the Christian community,” according to the statement.

Assam’s Christian population is 3.74 percent of the state’s 31 million people, compared to the national average of 2.3 percent.



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