Pakistani Christian leader urges UN intervention for halting anti-Christian violence in India

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Condemning the egregiously shocking mistreatment of religious minorities in India, the Chief of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA) and a member of National Assembly, Shahbaz Bhatti, has called upon the United Nations to ensure protection of lives and properties of minorities in India.

"Gross treatment being meted out to religious minorities in India is a cause of deep concern for peace-loving people in Pakistan and across the world," Shahbaz said.

The APMA Chief was critical of fresh anti-minorities wave that has rendered already marginalized and less-privileged minorities communities insecure and uncertain.

Shahbaz vehemently condemned attacks on Christians and torching of Churches in India. Targeting of minorities communities in India which has become a norm of the day is diametrically opposite to Indian rulers¢ claims of secularism, said Shahbaz.

Lamenting over the sporadic incidents of attacks of communal hatred in Orissa, he said some 50,000 people have been rendered homeless due to the violence.

The Pakistani Christian leader also condemned attacks on educational institutions, non-governmental organizations, assaults on pastors, priests and nuns and destruction of houses, shops and villages in Orissa.

"You cannot go on claiming to be secular and liberal when minorities in your country continue to be victimized, threatened, harassed and pressured," said Shahbaz pointing to India, whose treatment of its minorities has become "miserable than ever."

The anti-minorities violence has shaken the conscience of moderates, liberal, progressive and enlightened people across the globe, said Shahbaz Bhatti.

He called for immediate cessation of victimization of Indian minorities at the hands of fanatic elements and political groups.

Shahbaz said that the incidents of manhandling, hurling of threats, attacks on lives and properties of people and brazen attacks on the places of worship in India had left him deeply concerned about religious minorities in India.

"While violence continues in Orissa, on India's east coast, anti-Christian extremists have unleashed another wave of attacks on Christians in Karnataka, a state on India's west coast "At the same time, churches are under attack in Jharkand and other states, he regretted.

Violence against minorities in India has surged as the fanatic and extremist elements have gone unpunished, said Shahbaz.

He feared that violence against already vulnerable minorities will only escalate and the anti-peace elements will continue to target minorities if they were not brought to book. It is time the Indian government took stringent action against elements who, he said are causing harm to minorities in India. "Indian government should commit to taking steps to prevent further violence and end impunity for campaigns of violence and prosecute both state and private actors responsible for the attacks," he said.

He said the religious minorities in India should have the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate their religions.