OTHERS

VHP demands prosecution of Church authorities

NEW DELHI, JULY 12. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad today demanded that ``Church authorities be legally prosecuted'' for ``running a hate campaign'' against Hindus and ``communalising'' the situation arising out of certain incidents.

Simultaneously, the Bharatiya Janata Party said there should be a high level, ``joint probe'' by the Centre and the affected States to get to the bottom of the truth related to the series of explosions in churches across several States.

So far, the VHP and the BJP had blamed the Pakistani Inter- Services Intelligence for engineering blasts in churches to create a sense of insecurity among Christians. But, today Dr. Pravinbhai Togadia, VHP international general secretary, gave a new twist to the ongoing hostilities between the Christian organisations and the VHP by squarely blaming the Church for ``communalising'' violent incidents. The VHP alleged that four incidents - stealing of the Bible in Wynad, Kerala; attack on Dr. John Silvester at Prayag, Allahabad; alleged rape of nuns in Orissa; and an alleged assault on nuns in Haryana - were all ``fabricated by the Church.'' The argument is that almost in every case the Church authorities did not wait for investigations to be completed by the concerned agencies and instead rushed to the conclusion that ``Hindu organisations'' were behind the attacks.

The VHP also denounced the Christian organisations for refusing to participate in a dialogue with it on the request of the Minorities Commission.

BJP for `joint probe'

Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu, BJP general secretary and spokesperson, was hopeful that ``some clues'' from the Bangalore car blast, and interception of some telephone calls would lead to a breakthrough in the probe into the series of explosions in churches. The BJP admitted that the explosions had succeeded in creating an impression that Christians were under attack. Political parties had also joined the chorus blaming ``certain organisations'' but now the clues were pointing in a different direction, he said.

Mr. Naidu charged that provocative communal material in the form of pamphlets and handbills had been circulated as if it was from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The implication of what Mr. Naidu said was that some person or group was deliberately trying to create an impression that the RSS and its organisations were behind the ``hate Christian'' propaganda.