MUMBAI: A group of Christians on Monday released a report that "documents" 131 instances of violence against the community in 2012 across the nation. It claims most attacks were led by Hindu organizations with tacit support from the local police.
The group said Karnataka recorded 37 attacks, Chhattisgarh 21 and Madhya Pradesh 18. From the state, five instances were cited.
At a press meet, Abraham Mathai, president of Indian Christian Voice, released the annual 'Christian Persecution Report' issued by Richard Howell of the Delhi-based Evangelical Fellowship of India. "Hate crimes against tribal Christians are compounded by police apathy," Mathai said. "If the police could drive out gangsters like Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Rajan, can they not stop these Hindu fanatics?"
The group was accompanied by Mahatma Gandhi's great-grandson Tushar Gandhi at the release. Tribals from Jawhar, Mokhada and Wada in Thane were also invited to give testimony of attacks in the state.
TOI spoke to officers at Jawhar and Mokhada police stations, who refuted allegations of complicity. "In 2012 not one complaint of violence on Christians was received at Jawhar, which encompasses 52 gram panchayats. These allegations are part of baseless propaganda," an official said.
The Mokhada police said an offence was registered against a dalit faith healer who claimed to pray and cure dreaded diseases with sips of mineral water. "He was a dalit, not a Christian, and was booked under the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act. We also registered a case against the villagers who assaulted him after being cheated. No one is allowed to take the law in their hands," an officer said.
John Dayal of the All India Christian Council, who helped compile the report, said incidents of violence were down from 140 in 2011, but cautioned that "many incidents go unreported".
"There has been a marginal decrease in incidents of violence, down from 140 in 2011, but many incidents go unreported," Dayal said. "This dip may not necessarily mean that the incidence has reduced."
The Catholic Secular Forum also said Hindus disrupted a prayer meeting of 600 people in Sawantwadi on January 11.
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