All India Christian Council calls for united stand to protect Christian bodies

New Delhi, February 28: Dr Joseph D'souza, president of the All India Christian Council, today expressed apprehension that the Tehelka expose is indicative of a conspiracy aimed at discrediting the Christian community and continuing a campaign against Christians.

He was speaking at a meeting convened to consider possible responses to the publication of an exhaustive report in the newly launched Tehelka .

Several church leaders, pastors, evangelists and representatives of Christian NGOs attended the meeting.

Dr D’Souza said that such an exhaustive report could not have been written without helpful information provided by the home ministry. A Bangalore paper had also written recently about Christian organizations receiving foreign grants. The burden of the report was that the large funds received did not have any impact on the state of those for whose well being these funds were intended. Such reports could later be used as 'alibi' by a future BJP government to clamp down on Christian organisations.

However he was not in favour of Christians going to the press or giving too much
publicity to the Tehelka which might be seeking publicity for itself in an effort to gain circulation.

The forthcoming elections were critical for the country. The AICC, he disclosed, would have to resort to legal measures if a future government thought of victimizing Christian organizations on the basis of false allegations.

AICC president said the unrest being deliberately caused by fanatical elements posed a threat to Christians in the tribal regions. Vested interests were trying to create a divide between Christian tribals and non-Christian tribals by manipulating the ignorant and illiterate. The question of extending protection to Christian workers in the field, particularly in the isolated pockets, was becoming a matter of concern.

Mr John Dayal, who had undertaken a tour of some of the tribal areas, said that in the context of the growing communalization of government agencies and the administration, it had become difficult to ensure justice to the victims of communal conflicts. Even in judgements conferring rights on converted tribals, the same had been made conditional upon the converts continuing some of their old customs. This would be contrary to the spirit of justice and had the effect of binding themto obscurantist ways.