Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Arrested for the faith

In New Delhi, the world's largest democracy. [Via Asianews.]
More than 4,000 protestors marched through the streets of India's capital today to call for the Union Government of India to break its silence on violence against Christians across the country have been arrested by the police.

The rally, called "Stop Violence On Christians", was organised after two recently televised attacks on Christians and an increase of anti-Christian incidents in the first few months of 2007.

The rally started at 10am at Jantar Mantar near the Parliament in New Delhi. Rally organisers had expected 2,000 people, but attendance was estimated at 5,000. Speeches demanded human dignity and constitutional rights for the Christian community and other repressed minorities. Minorities are facing harassment from Hindutva fundamentalists and, in many cases, local government officials.

The Station House Officer, Parliament Street Police Station, confirmed he had "arrested" approximately 4,000 people at 1:05pm and released them at 2:10pm.

"This was the first time since November 1997 that such large numbers of Christians have been arrested in the Parliament Street Police Station. It was incredible to see Catholic nuns, Protestant pastors, civil society activists and more singing Christian songs of liberation within the police station," said John Dayal, Secretary General, All India Christian Council, and President, All India Catholic Union.
I've no idea why anyone was arrested -- the right to protest is guaranteed by the Indian constitution -- and especially glad that the arrests happened, apparently, without violence. (Indian police are rather trigger-happy in general.) Just to note that while it is great that 5000 people showed up, in India, that's a rather small turnout.] If Google News is reliable, then not a single mainstream daily carried this news -- all the links are to Christian or Catholic publications. This grassroots netzine plays it as a Dalit Christian rally.

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