Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Minorities harassed in BJP-ruled states

Vineeta Pandey

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 23:16 IST

NEW DELHI: All is not well in some of the BJP-ruled states, according to the members of the National Commission for Minorities. The Commission, which submitted its report on atrocities on minorities in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday, has surely stirred a hornet's nest over an issue that has been regularly plaguing the BJP-governed states.

The Commission, which was investigating complaints of atrocities, violence and rapes on minorities ---- mostly Christians ---- in MP and Chhattisgarh, has concluded that backed by the local police and the administration, the "goons" of Bajrang Dal, RSS and Dharamsena are "harassing" the minorities in these states.

But the report has not gone down well with the BJP and the party has accused the Congress of maligning its image. BJP spokesperson Prakash Javedkar told DNA: "I really wonder how this Minority Commission functions. The Congress is misusing every official organ to deride the BJP-ruled states".

A two-member team of the Commission that conducted on-the-spot assessment in districts of Jhabua, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Betul, Hoshangabad, Seoni, Dhar in MP and Jashpur, Raipur, Bilaspur etc in Chhattisgarh after receiving complaints from Christians, found that their complaints were genuine. The allegations were of intimidating, harassing and beating Christains on the plea that they were converting Hindus to Christianity. There were also allegations that the police and local administration remained mute spectators to the atrocities on minorities.

"In Jabalpur, 13 cases of conversion were registered against Christians. When the community protested, the local police filed five counter FIRs. This is the seriousness of the local police in such matters," said Harcharan Singh Josh, member of the Commission.

In its report, submitted to the Prime Minister, the Commission has suggested deployment of sensitive police officials in the minority-dominated areas, and penalising administrators in cases of atrocities that are not registered. It has also recommended an instruction from the union Home Ministry to the state governments to deal with atrocities on minorities in a strict manner and stringent action on those guilty.

Click here for source