By M M Special Correspondent,
New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in the country, is witnessing the highest number of violence against Christians since the BJP formed the government under Yogi Adityanath last year. As many as 25 incidents of violence against Christians reported in September while Jaunpur, located to the northwest of PM’s Constituency Varanasi witnessed 20 incidents alone.
Since the BJP came to power at the Center and several states, Hindutva groups affiliated to the ruling party have been attacking religious minorities particularly Muslims and Christians and also Dalits with impunity. But UP, considered to be the most populous country subdivision in the world and led by a sitting high priest of Gorakhpur temple who is known for his rabble-rousing, is witnessing the highest number of incidents.
What’s noteworthy is, it is happening in a district headquarters located to the northwest of the district of Varanasi, which is a parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Another noteworthy point is that Jaunpur has a miniscule population of Christians with 0.11% out of the total population of 180,362. Pastors were being taken into police custody based on false allegations of forceful religious conversion. In one such case, on 13th September 2018, a Christian who was leading a prayer meeting was beaten up and warned of severe consequences if continued to pray. Christians in Jaunpur are in great fear of being attacked and are not even conducting prayers in their own homes.
In September alone, Uttar Pradesh has witnessed 25 incidents, out of which 20 were in Jaunpur. According the UCF helpline which records the date, overall, since January 2018, the state has witnessed 59 out of 190 incidents of violence against Christians in India. In fact, September has seen 34 number of incidents of violence against Christians, which is highest in this year followed by 25 in May and January. Mob attacks continue to be modes operandi to disrupt and intimidate the peace loving and god-fearing Christian population of the country. Another major obstacle is restriction on access to public place and utilities for religious assembly. In these 190 incidents of violence against Christians in 2018 from January to September, 135 women and 115 children were either physically injured or mentally disturbed. What should worry Christian community, especially, its leadership is that out of three democratic pillars of India, both government and media are ignoring these seemingly systematic attacks on Christians, which has risen from 150 plus in 2014 to 250 plus in 2018. The third and most reliable is judiciary, which has become a fall back for the community with over 200 cases of ‘false allegations of conversion’ pending in various courts of India including Supreme Court.
Talking to Muslim Mirror, former Delhi Minorities Commission member, A C Michael said it is a fact that the Christians living in Uttar Pradesh are facing heightened fear of thread to their lives for practicing their faith.