‘Why are Christians attacked, accused of conversion?’: Days after Modi recommendation, Union minister reaches out

On January 17, in the course of the National Executive assembly of the BJP in Delhi, Modi had repeated that the BJP ought to attain out to teams akin to Pasmandas, Bohras, Muslim professionals and educated Muslims “without electoral considerations”. “The call was mainly to build confidence among these communities,” a senior BJP chief stated.

The Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Barla gained the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Alipurduar in North Bengal, the place a majority of the inhabitants is both Adivasi Christian like him or Muslim.

On Friday, addressing a Peace Rally in Kolkata, Barla listed the various contributions of the Christian neighborhood and stated: “After so much contribution, there is no respect. Why are there allegations that we convert people? No, we don’t convert people.”

He added: “There are Christian schools in the remotest area of the country where there are no government institutes… Christians are not against the government. Businessmen and politicians send their children to Christian schools. Then why do we get beaten up? Why are Christians blamed for conversion?”

One motive, Barla stated, was that Christians had didn’t showcase their contribution to the nation. “That is why we have not got any respect from the government.” However, he added: “It is not a political issue. Christians only want peace and development.”

A senior BJP chief stated Barla’s stand was not stunning given the assist he wants of the Christian neighborhood to win. However, he stated, “It is true that in the last few years, when we have emphasised more on a Hindutva agenda and tried to consolidate Hindu votes, it has not helped us mobilise votes against ruling parties in states (with high minority populations) like West Bengal, Kerala and some Northeastern states. So, we have to come out from that, which is what the PM said, and concentrate more on minority communities.”

Barla talked about well being centres, outdated age properties, academic establishments arrange by Christian teams, and stated that various personalities, from Mahatma Gandhi to movie star Shah Rukh Khan, had studied at such establishments.

“From the time I became a minister, as the minority minister, as a Christian, I thought, ‘What is our contribution to the country? What have we given and what have we got in return, both before and after Independence? What respect did we get for our contribution?’…”

Barla additionally talked about the latest assaults on Christians in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh, in reference to alleged non secular conversions. While a minimum of one BJP chief has been arrested for the violence, Barla stated the occasion was not concerned and the violence was between two teams of tribals.

Paritosh Canning, the president of the Bengal Christian Council and Bishop of Calcutta, Church of North India, stated, “Our objective is to bring all Christians of West Bengal on a single platform. We also want to highlight the contribution of other minorities — Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, etc — to build the country, state and society.”

Congress president Adhir Chowdhury stated, “The BJP has realised that the acceptance of its Hindutva politics is decreasing. Now, they are trying win over the minorities. But the minorities know what the BJP is and what it has done in the past. All they are doing is nothing but drama.”

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