Trinamool Alleges State-sponsored Persecution of Christians in Assam

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Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale said that through the Assam police circular, the BJP government in the state has now institutionalised the persecution and targeting of Christians and churches in the state. 

GUWAHATI — The Trinamool Congress on Thursday alleged that the Assam church survey order amounts to “state-sponsored persecution of Christians”, and asked the Embassy of the Holy See of the Vatican to raise the matter in appropriate diplomatic fora with the Indian government.

Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale in a letter to Reverend Leopoldo Girelli, Apostolic Nuncio to India, Embassy of the Holy See of Vatican, said , “We wish to apprise you of this extremely serious issue in the state of Assam with an appeal to notify His Holiness Pontifex Maximus as well as The Holy See regarding this state-sponsored persecution of Christians and to take up this issue in the relevant diplomatic fora with the government of India as you may deem fit.”

The Trinamool spokesperson was referring to the recent controversial order by Assam Police seeking information on the number of churches in the region along with details of people involved in religious conversion.

Several Trinamool leaders, including its Meghalaya unit vice-president George Lyngdoh, have slammed the Assam government for the divisive move.

In his letter, Gokhale said that the Assam government is using the police and intelligence department “to target and persecute not only the Christian clergy in the state, but also people who have chosen to embrace the teachings of Jesus Christ and convert to Christianity”.

“The right to profess, propagate, and practice one’s faith is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution of India. Moreover, international laws, as well as the Geneva Convention, recognise the right to freely practice religion and faith of one’s choice as a fundamental human right,” Gokhale said.

He said that through the Assam police circular, the BJP government in the state has now institutionalised the persecution and targeting of Christians and churches in, besides using state machinery and intelligence agencies to deny Christians the right to practice their faith and target those who wish to embrace Christianity.

Reacting to the issue, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had earlier said that the police should not ask as to how many churches are there in Assam.

This might hurt the sentiments of a particular religious community, Sarma had told the media, adding that he was not aware on what context the Superintendent of Police (Special Branch) had issued the letter.

“I have asked the Director General of Police to inquire into the matter and take corrective measures,” he had said. — IANS

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