Obama’s concern for religious intolerance in India is part of a sinister plan – Rakesh Sinha

Prof Rakesh Sinha“Obama has shown himself to be more a Christian figure than statesman. Fact is that the missionary lobby fears an anti-conversion law that will prevent them from ‘harvesting’ Hindus as part of their demographic project. … Indian missionaries are perturbed by rising demands for a Central law against conversion. Obama’s statement is a part of the Vatican’s agenda in India.” – Prof Rakesh Sinha

Obama also has a Christian agenda for South AsiaPresident Obama’s out-of-the-blue statement voicing concern for allegedly growing religious intolerance in India is no surprise at all. There are reasons for this outburst. The US President is clearly under the superficial anti-India propaganda by a powerful network of the Christian lobby alleging that minorities face ‘existential challenges’.

Is that really so? A few stray incidences in Delhi concerning churches are unfortunate and against our long history and tradition of religious harmony and peaceful coexistence. Such incidents, of course, must be prevented and wrongdoers punished. The pattern of such incidents, however, and the disproportionate propaganda following them must be diagnosed. Likely hired criminals damaging churches may be more a symbolic act, intended to create an atmosphere for motivated propaganda against the Sangh Parivar and push the Modi government on the defensive. While the use of the term ‘symbolic’ for such incidents may sound trivialising, it needs iteration that these are not open or premeditated attacks, nor owned up to by any group.

During Vajpayee’s NDA government, a similar propaganda was unleashed by vested interests. There were incidents of a few churches being damaged; incidents of rapes on nuns were cited to claim that a Sangh-influenced government had been “encouraging fringe elements”. The St. Anne’s Church in Gulbarga was attacked on June 8, 2000 along with another, St. Peter Paul Church, in Bengaluru, and literature threatening Christians was distributed. But investigation unravelled the real culprits and intentions. It was the handiwork of Deendar Anjuman, an outfit backed by Pakistan’s ISI.

Broken Jesus idol Another incident was the rape of four nuns in Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh, in 1999. Investigation revealed the 12 rapists to be Christians. More intriguing was an incident in 2009 when church property was destroyed in Mangaluru on March 16, sparking off media discourse on “anti-Christian activities of Hindu outfits”. But post-arrest investigation revealed all seven accused to be Christians, who confessed that the intention of their crime was to defame the majority community and create social divide. Such incidents are an eye-opener.

The recent Delhi church incidents may not have been along earlier patterns. Whatever the case, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has been quick to intervene to the apparent satisfaction of the Christian delegation that sought his intervention. Then what led Obama to issue statements that are an intervention in India’s domestic affairs?

Obama has shown himself to be more a Christian figure than statesman. Fact is that the missionary lobby fears an anti-conversion law that will prevent them from ‘harvesting’ Hindus as part of their demographic project. There were expectations during the Pope’s visit to India that he would advise evangelists to stop conversions. Far from it, he claimed conversion to be a right. Indian missionaries are perturbed by rising demands for a Central law against conversion. Obama’s statement is a part of the Vatican’s agenda in India.

Does India have to learn religious tolerance and secularism from Obama? The POTUS needs to be reminded that unlike India, an American Presidency oath carries religious elements. Since 1937, the US President’s oath ceremony includes blessings by a pastor, called Benediction. Moreover, the President-elect repeats his oath placing his hand on the Bible.

French hijab ban 2004The US and Europe’s approach to terrorism has morphed into anti-Islamic rhetoric, with most European countries officially declaring a departure from multi-culturalism. For instance, Italy’s culture minister Dario Franceschini termed the burqa a ‘mobile prison’. Switzerland has banned the construction of minarets. Will Obama lecture them, and France too, which has banned the hijab?

Obama’s statement reveals him to be driven by propaganda, not guided by realities. He is no world statesman like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, who sacrificed his life in a defining battle against white supremacy. Obama is not decisive; he is just pushing the Vatican agenda which wants to pressurize the Modi government and stall an anti-conversion law. POTUS’s intervention is pathetic and condemnable. Anyone who uses it for domestic politics is guilty of encouraging neo-imperialists to intervene in our domestic affairs. – The New Indian Express, 8 February 2015

» Prof Rakesh Sinha is Hony Director of India Policy Foundation. Contact him at rakeshsinha46@gmail.com

One Response

  1. Alabama policeman indicted for throwing Indian man to ground – Reuters – Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans & Letitia Stein in Tampa, 27 March 2015

    A U.S. grand jury has indicted an Alabama police officer, captured on video throwing an Indian man to the ground, on a civil rights charge stemming from the use of unreasonable force, federal prosecutors said on Friday.

    Eric Parker, 26, then an officer with the Madison Police Department, was seen on video recorded from inside a patrol car on Feb. 6 throwing Sureshbhai Patel, 57, to the ground after attempting to question him.

    Patel, who speaks no English and moved to northern Alabama from India about two weeks before the incident to help his son’s family care for a young child, was badly injured, said his lawyer Henry Sherrod.

    Sherrod applauded the one-count indictment handed down late on Thursday, which charges that Parker acted under the color of law to deny Patel’s civil rights, and which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

    “For the public to trust police officers, it needs to know officers will be held accountable,” Sherrod said in a statement.

    In a separate case where advocates question the use of force by law enforcement, a Mississippi sheriff’s deputy was arrested, officials said on Friday.

    The arrest came after a grand jury indicted Walter Grant of the Bolivar County Sheriff’s Office on charges of manslaughter for shooting a suspect in the head in 2013 as he was resisting arrest.

    In the Alabama case, Patel last month filed a civil rights complaint against Parker, a second officer, and the city of Madison, alleging racism.

    Patel was walking on the sidewalk outside his son’s home around 9 a.m. when police said they received a call about a suspicious person.

    Patel told the officers who stopped him: “No English, Indian,” the suit said.

    Parker then threw Patel, who weighs 130 pounds, to the ground, according to the complaint.

    Patel is slowly regaining function in his hands and legs and recently began walking with the help of a walker, Sherrod said.

    Parker’s attorney, Robert Tuten, expected that his client would plead not guilty.

    “Eric is being attacked from all sides,” he said. “He doesn’t believe that he’s violated the law.”

    Parker was also charged in state court with misdemeanor assault, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

    The Madison Police Department released video of the incident and apologized for Parker’s actions. It said it has recommended the officer’s termination, which he is challenging.

    (Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans and Letitia Stein in Tampa, Fla.; editing by Will Dunham and Gunna Dickson)

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