India

Petition claiming attacks on Christian community based on ‘falsehood’: MHA to SC

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). File

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday in the Supreme Court said a petition claiming attacks on the Christian community was based on "falsehood" and "selective self-serving documents".

Even family feuds and private land disputes are being shown as communal targeting, the Ministry countered.

The petition was filed by Rev. Dr. Peter Machado of the National Solidarity Forum, Rev. Vijayesh Lal of the Evangelical Fellowship of India, and others.

A Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud took up the case on Tuesday but adjourned it to next Thursday for detailed hearing. It gave the petitioners time to file their rejoinder to the government affidavit.

The Ministry said the petition was sourced from information gleaned from media reports.

"Majority of the incidents alleged as Christian persecution in these reports were either false or wrongfully projected. In some cases, incidents of purely criminal nature and arising out of personal issues, have been categorised as violence targeting Christians," the affidavit said.

The MHA said several incidents were "not necessarily related to incidents on violence targeting Christians".

"Incidents of minor disputes, where no religious/communal angle existed, had also been published in the self-serving reports as instances of violence against Christians," the MHA said.

The affidavit contended that "preliminary factual check and inputs received" that even action taken by local administrations against illegal constructions are projected as instances of religious targeting of places.

The MHA objected to reports that the police were negligent or biased or complicit with vigilante groups, leading to an atmosphere of intolerance.

"On the contrary, a preliminary factual check and the inputs received reveals that the police had taken prompt action in numerous cases and conducted necessary investigation as per rules," the Ministry defended.

On August 5, the apex court had asked the Centre to find out whether States were following its 2018 judgment, which placed the onus on the police to prevent communal violence and lynchings.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, for the petitioners, had submitted that there were around 505 attacks on the religious community in the past several months alone.

"We had laid a framework to deal with such cases in the Tehseen Poonawala judgment. We want to know whether our directions in the judgment are being followed by States… That will be our key area of focus," Justice Chandrachud had told the government.

The July 2018 judgment had laid down several preventive, remedial and punitive measures to combat the crime of lynching.

It had condemned the increased number of incidents of mob lynchings across the country as “horrendous acts of mobocracy”. The court had even asked the Parliament to make lynching a separate offence.


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Printable version | Aug 16, 2022 4:44:11 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/petition-claiming-attacks-on-christian-community-based-on-falsehood-mha-to-sc/article65774895.ece