Source: www.mangalorean.com (Do Visit their site for some excellent articles)
By Team Mangalorean, Mangalore
MANGALORE, September 15, 2008: This coastal city which had led a harmonious life since 1495 till 1997, its secular credential now stands questionable. And it appears that changing political system has had so much to contribute. If one can recall BBC's Correspondent Mark Tully's commentary on the day Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated that sums up the condition of India. He had said on that fateful day "With Rajiv Gandhi gone the face of India is going to change -the political floor is now open for the communal parties and forces to walk all over the face of the country".
To quote late Prime minister of England Winston Churchill who was the prime minister when India attained independence "These scoundrels will tear apart the country and disintegrate it in fifty years." Both Tully and Churchill were not ordinary people they were known to be the authorities on Indian socio-political conditions. The prophecies are now coming true as our politicians have started disintegrating the country for their own political gains.
In the recent times since the BJP's presence in the Parliament and the state assemblies has become more prominent the communal riots have become a common feature. At any part of time at any given time three major communities namely Hindus, Christians and Muslims are at loggerheads and the common factor appears to be the Sangh Parivar and their political arm BJP.
Monday Morning at Vamanjoor Church
Mangalore appears to be barometer of communal hatred. The 1998 communal riots in Surathkal was undoubtedly the worst situation when 17 people died. This was the time when the BJP had come to prominence in the state assembly and that was the first time when inflammatory speeches against other communities were openly made. The Surathkal police records show that was the first time families were attacked by both communities.
After that incident in 2006 October the city went into a week long dawn to dusk curfew for the first time in the history. In the intermittent period between 1998 and 2006 several incidents at much smaller and medium scales were taking place regularly and according to the police there were 36 incidents that had communal colour.
But what happened on the "Black Sunday" on 14th September 2008 was a totally new chain of incidents. It is no less than the series of Bomb blasts that terrorists planted in Delhi a few days back. The series of well co-ordinated attacks on the minority community shrines and prayer halls were nothing less than exploding communal bombs. The Bajrang Dal is exactly trying to do that in their own ways.
It was a step towards making Karnataka a Gujarat the first one will be to tame the minorities deprive them of their social security and cow them down. This had happened in Gujarat when the majority community was pressurized to politically, socially and economically rusticated.
It is significant to note that the peace loving Christians have now been added to the list of Bajrang Dal for their nefarious designs for the political gains. Christians had never came to a street fight but this time they had no other way but to protest in some way. All the peaceful protests have been met by violent actions from the administration like caning them and arresting them and tear gassing them. These measures should have been taken by the police on the rioters.
The rioting, stone pelting, tyre burning and road blocks continued unabatedly on Sunday and the situation appeared to be calmer on Monday morning. But with the public transport system coming to a halt the normal life will not be possible for the Mangaloreans even on Monday. Schools and Colleges, banks, business establishments and markets may not function with their full girth on Monday also.
According to the bus operators they will not resume the operations till fully safety of their vehicles and crew are ensured by the police.
Monday morning was not normal
Even as the city wore a deserted look the people were trying to normalize the life in the city. The Milk delivery was normal, few vegetable shops, bakeries and few medical shops were open, but behind this veil of normalcy there was tension.
Christian devotees had begun to gather in their respective Churches and the Church bells were ringing unabatedly and according to leaders of the community, they are afraid even today as they feel threatened and terribly insecure. Churches were the institutions that offered tremendous solace and strength but the motives behind the attacks on Churches had made them conscious of their safety in the city.
The people gathered at Bendur, Bijai, Valencia, Milagres, Ashoknagar, Nagori etc in front of the church entrances. There were also a number of people praying inside the church.
Most of the public transport has been reduced to a minimum. The few buses which were on the roads in the morning were stopped by the crowd. The police have been deployed at all the churches.
At Bendur church, the parish priest Fr. Noronha spoke along with Sr. Agnesia, Fr. Vincent and Leslie Rego. They stressed that it was time for the Christians to fight for their rights and to make their voice heard not just at the State level but right up to the Central Government level from where strict action was expected.
At Valencia church a large crowd had gathered as well. The parish priest, Fr. Bonaventure Nazareth and Arun Raj Rodrigues spoke demanding the arrest of the activists who had already taken responsibility for the atrocities committed yesterday. They also called for a complete ban of the Bajrang Dal in the State.
The Churches of South India which has its head in Bangalore has sent its top people to Mangalore and its Bishop Francis Jackson who is also the leader of the JD(S) in the state has appealed to the people not to take any drastic action.
The Bajrang Dal activists however have indicated that the attacks will continue till such a time the CSI churches especially the New Life sect stops forcible religious conversions.
Monday Morning at Bendur Church
The latest list of attacks on late Sunday was the Padua chapel was attacked at 9.15 pm as some youth on motorcycles threw stones and banged the gates. They targeted the glass parts of buildings.
In another attack on Sunday evening miscreants desecrated a statue located in front of Carmelites' house in Katkere, near Koteshwar in Udupi district according to the police. The attacks appear to be coming in waves and in well co-ordinated modus operandi.
The Christian communities in Chikmagalur mainly in Basavanahally, Rathnagirinagara, Azadnagar have confirmed that there was intense tension in the city for the last two days and they have felt that youths were being mobilized for some nefarious activities.
A Christian organization in Tumkur district have also reported an attack on a church in Tiptur but the police have no information on that.
The Bajrang Dal state convenor Mahendra Kumar had clarified on Sunday only the New Life sect prayer halls were attacked but on Sunday the Padua chapel has been targeted for attack comes as a shock to the Catholic church. The Vishwa Hindu Parishat however was quick to react and said the attack on Padua church was a mistake. This chapel is located in the premises of Padua pre-university college at Nanthoor. According to the Kadri police have given protection to the chapel says Superintendent of Police Satheesh Kumar.
The Adoration Monastery behind the Milagres Church has been given adequate security also.
To end this analysis it is pertinent to quote Karl Marx who has said " Religion is the opium of the people" Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes"(in German) in his Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right.
It looks like Bajrang Dal activists have taken an overdose of the religious opium to unleash such barbarism on world culture.