New Delhi, 9th February, 2011: The Archbishop of Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, Vincent M. Concessao has welcomed the decision of Madhya Pradesh High Court directing government to provide security to Christians in Mandala, on the eve of the Narmada Samajik Kumbh which begins tomorrow. On a petition filed by Fr. Anand Muttungal in the light of the looming forceful ‘re-conversion’ of Christian tribals in the state by Sangh Parivar, the court has passed the instruction.
A fact finding team which toured the Narmada Valley areas in Mandla district in Madhya Pradesh has found that the Christian community of the entire region encompassing Madhya Pradesh and neighbouring state of Chattisgarh, have strong reasons to fear an outbreak of violence against them during or after the event from cadres of the Sangh Parivar.
The Sangh Parivar has left no one in any doubt that the main reason for organizing the Kumbh, at which they expect two million people is to purge the region of “Christian Missionaries”, whom they accuse of carrying on large scale conversions of tribals, mostly Gonds.
The church leadership in turn had sent urgent representations to the Governor and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh apprising them of the sinister developments and calling on the State to ensure that they are not persecuted and that there is no outbreak of violence. Sources from Jabalpur area reveal that there will be a major “ghar wapsi” (or re-conversion) to Hinduism of local Christians.
The Christian community, being a minority in the state and country, urged the administration to take timely action of preventing places of worship, institutions and religious personnel. “The administration would be entirely and wholly responsible in case of any undesirable eventuality”, said a memorandum signed by priests, representatives of the Christian community to the State Governor, with copies to the Chief Minister, the divisional and district authorities.
After discussions with office bearers of Isai Mahasangh, the Catholic Bishop of Jabalpur, Rt. Rev. Gerald Almeida was assured by the Government of Madhya Pradesh that no conversion will take place and full security would be given to Christians in Narmada Samajik Kumbh Mela, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan conveyed through National Integration Council Vice-chairman.
Fr. Dominic Emmanuel
Spokesperson Delhi Catholic Archdiocese