Monday, July 25, 2005

VHP, Bajrang Dal Activists attack a Prayer Meeting at Ratlam, MP

23rd July 2005

Tension prevailed in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh as activists of the VHP, Bajrang Dal and its affiliates attacked a peaceful gathering of Christians on the afternoon of 23rd July 2005.

The Christian meeting was going on at Gujarati Manglik Bhavan, Gandhinagar, Ratlam from the 20th July 2005 and was organized by Pastor Biju Varghese of Miracle Ministries. Pastor Varghese had rented the premises for use for the meeting.

The meeting was primarily a prayer meeting where people were being prayed over for healing of the bodies from any sickness that they might have. Nearly 85 participants, most of the them Christians were attending the prayer meeting in a peaceful manner.

On the 23rd afternoon some activists of VHP and Bajrang Dal descended at the venue of the prayer meeting and demanded to know what was going on. They were using abusive language and soon many more people joined them. They were shouting anti Christian slogans and using disrespectful language against the Christian faith. They were also accompanied by some members of the local media who clearly appeared to be biased.

Some Christians attending the prayer meeting were beaten up and prevented from professing their faith. Jaikar and Antar Singh who were conducting the prayer meeting were also among those who were threatened.

Soon the police arrived on the scene. TI of the Alkapuri Thana, Mr. P N Malviya along with some constables was unable to control the RSS activists who had brought along a video camera and were interviewing and recording statements of the participants forcefully and illegally.

The participants were threatened to give statements that they had been brought to the venue by the organizers in order to convert them.

Such rowdiness continued till the SP Ratlam arrived on the scene and it was only then that some order could be restored.

The activist who attacked the prayer meeting have not been arrested, nor have they been charged of any criminal activity. When the organizers of the meeting tried to file an FIR they were advised not to do so thus denying them of their basic right.

The Christian community in Ratlam is saddened by this gross violation of human and minority rights especially the fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution of India.

This incident coupled with other incidents of atrocities against Christians in the state of Madhya Pradesh in the past week only points to a well planned strategy against the Christians of the state by Hindu Fundamentalists.