Hindu militants in India, and urged the prime minister to intervene.
In comments obtained by the BosNewsLife New Delhi Bureau Friday, November 4, John Dayal, member of National Integration Council (NIC) of the Government of India said he "alerted Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh" and his cabinet about hundreds of attacks against Christians in several areas.
The NIC was set up by the government to deal with incidents of ethnic and religious violence and to promote tolerance towards different groups in the mainly Hindu nation.
Dayal said violence against especially priests, nuns and Christian institutions was spreading, particularly in states governed by the Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). The incidents, he said, "may well cross 200 registered cases."
While the national government is led by the Congress Party, the Indian states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Orissa are ruled by the BJP. The Congress Party defeated the BJP in national elections in May 2004.
Dayal said he had written repeatedly to Prime Minister Singh urging him to address the "very disturbing trends in the states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, where the [local] state machinery has been indicted for playing a role in several incidents of religious violence."
The BJP did not comment on the latest claims, but it has in the past condemned Christian leaders, including missionaries, for allegedly converting Hindus to Christianity. Human rights watchers claim the BJP has close ties with Hindu militant groups.
Dayal explained that the state of "Rajasthan is especially vulnerable to religious violence. The [Hindu group] Sangh Parivar had earlier threatened to make Banswara district in Udaipur division free of all Christians."
He said "this threat has been followed up by large-scale coercion and violence in the Tribal Udaipur division, which adjoins Madhya Pradesh state. The state government, instead of checking the violence, is now itself threatening the community and has announced it is bringing forward an Anti-Conversion Bill."
The BJP has not reacted to the latest claims, but it has in the past condemned Christian leaders, including missionaries, for allegedly converting Hindus to Christianity.
US-based Christian Aid Mission (CAM), told BosNewsLife that especially "native missionaries throughout India have recently suffered a bout of physical attacks, threats and intimidation at the hands of Hindu nationalist extremists."
In recent weeks "a group of five missionary trainees in troubled Bihar state were lured into an alleyway while distributing Christian literature and brutally beaten by those opposed to their work," CAM claimed.
Earlier a Christian center in Bihar with around 100 families and 900 children, including polio sufferers and orphans, was allegedly surrounded by an angry Hindu mob for three days, added CAM which supports native missionaries.
Dayal stressed the increased anti-Christian violence could be "a part of a well planned conspiracy to divert the community's energies" away from their advocacy campaign across the country "seeking for Dalit Christians the same rights end protection of law given to Dalits professing the Buddhist, Sikh and Hindu faiths."
The term Dalit is used for the so-called "untouchables" of India, up to 300-million people, who occupy the lowest place in India's ancient caste system of Hinduism. Dayal said the Dalit Christians are mostly landless peasants.
"The anti-Christian violence is being closely monitored by the All India Catholic Union (AICU), which is also an important member in the Dalit Advocacy, together with the Catholic BishopsÐ¢ Conference of India, the All India Christian Council (AICC) and the National Council of Churches in India," Dayal stressed.
Dayal, who is also president of the AICU and secretary general of the AICC, publishes an Unofficial White Paper of Violence against Christians in November or December each year, demanding that the Government publish an Official White Paper on Violence against Minorities, Tribals and Dalits.
NO OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS
So far the BJP and Congress governments have not published any official document on anti-Christian violence, BosNewsLife established. Official institutions, such as the National Commission for Minorities, have also not published reports on the issue.
Dayal urged the national government to "urgently call upon [local] state governments, which control law and order, to ensure the safety of the minorities, protection of churches and arrest of the culprits." He also renewed his demand for "economic empowerment of the Christian community with special emphasis on Christian youth jobs, entrepreneurship and self employment."
"Our studies have shown an absence of entrepreneurship and self-employment, largely because of an absence of government support and funding, despite the [creation of the government backed] National Minorities Development Fund," he added.
Another problem is that "in Central India, education is yet to reach all people, and Tribal Christian women are especially a neglected lot," he added. Dayal also demanded an early introduction of legislation which would give Christians the right to adopt children, which is currently denied to them.
Christians are estimated to comprise about 2.3 percent of India's nearly 1.1 billion people.