Friday, April 15, 2011

Madhya Pradesh conducting survey of Christians

Bhopal: Is the Shivraj Chauhan-government in Madhya Pradesh profiling the Christian population in the state?
NDTV has accessed a shocking state government circular issued in March this year. Distributed by the police headquarters, all 50 districts in the state have been asked to submit details on each member of the Christian community in that district.
These details include:

  • Financial status
  • Foreign income, if any
  • Political leanings
  • Criminal record, if any
  • Total strength of the community
  • Break up of Protestants and Catholics
  • Number of churches - existing and upcoming
  • Number of Christian schools
  • Number of Christian teachers

The Christian Community in the state is wary of this new development. "There is some hidden agenda behind it otherwise such sort of profiling I don't think a democratic country permits," says Father Muttungal, the spokesperson of the Catholic Church in Madhya Pradesh.
"I went to meet the DG, the delegation of all people, and DGP says he has no information about this and he told the people concerned to immediately stop it," he added.
The state's intelligence agencies are completely denying the circular and the Law & Order department says it has no clue who sent it out.
"Neither the state government wishes this type of profiling, nor the police headquarters. We are looking into who issued it," Ashok Kumar Saini, Inspector General Intelligence in Madhya Pradesh Police, told NDTV.

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Madhya Pradesh orders survey of all Christians in state

Bhopal : An official survey ordered by the police headquarters here seeks to find out details about the Christian population in Madhya Pradesh, including their total strength, the political patronage they enjoy, the source of funding of Christian schools and the number of churches in the state.

The order, issued by police headquarters on March 22, asks officers-in-charge of police stations to file reports within “10 days”. The survey, at the district and tehsil level, must include:

Number of Christians, with a break-up of Catholics and Protestants, where they stay, and their economic status.

Details of schools run by Christian bodies — numbers of staff and students, source of income, whether they get foreign funding.

Number of existing and under-construction churches, with details of the fathers/ bishops heading them.

A list of Christians involved in criminal activities, with details about whether they enjoy any political patronage, and their clout.

Details of annual functions held at district and tehsil level, including venues, organisers and funds.

Areas which are sensitive because of their Christian population.

The matter became known after officials of Ashta police station in Sehore district reportedly threatened to arrest a priest who refused to cooperate in the survey.

Members of the Christian community met senior police officers, and were assured that the survey would be immediately stopped. But two days ago, the police approached the office of Fr Anand Muttungal, spokesman of the Catholic Church, in Bhopal, seeking details about the community members in his area. When he asked them the purpose of the survey, they showed him a copy of the circular.

“Are we criminals that the government is profiling us,” said Fr Muttungal.

The community approached Director General of Police S K Raut, who reportedly said he was not aware of any such exercise.

Additional DGP R K Shukla told The Indian Express that orders had been issued to stop the survey. “There will be no profiling of the community,” he said.

Minister of State for Home Narayan Kushwah claimed that he was not aware of the survey.

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