Friday, July 25, 2014

Update of the situation in Chhattisgarh

The collector Mr. Ankit Anand called a meeting of various Christian leaders on July 23, 2014 on the recent issue of resolutions being taken by Gram Sabhas in Bastar and Jagdalpur districts outlawing non-Hindu religions from villages in these districts.

While the media reports that more than 50 villages have passed these resolutions, Anand admitted to only three gram panchayats passing these resolutions while speaking to Times of India earlier. The resolutions have been backed by VHP and Mr. Suresh Yadav the local VHP leader has openly acknowledged this.

Mr. Anand reportedly told the Christians that while he cannot challenge the resolutions he is initiating peace committees in which Christians will be included to resolve the issue in an amicable manner. He had earlier told the media, "any resolution by village council banning people from any particular religion or community from the village is legally null and void." But now Mr. Anand seems to be following the well-designed VHP strategy of creating a conflict and then thriving on it.

Peace committees are needed when there are two or more opposing parties of equal or comparable strengthen and when both have worked towards creation of a conflict. The issue in this case is not this.

Christians and other non-Hindu religions have been banned using an existing provision of legislature which has been misinterpreted and the tribal identity has been reduced to that of a Hindu according to the narrow definition of the Hindutva brigade, ignoring the rich religious and cultural history of Tribals. This has been achieved thanks to the nefarious designs of the VHP supported ably by the BJP and others. Christians mainly are the one non-Hindu group that have suffered exclusion and violence as a result of VHP works intensifying in the area.

It is a classic case of aggression by one party and then making the situation to look like both parties have been aggressive on similar scale. Christians are victims; they do not need peace committees but protection. They are not aggressors quite unlike the VHP that need pacifying via peace committees. Christians are already committed to peace in an area where peace if threatened by the VHP and the official machinery propelled by the BJP.