Shillong (Meghalaya), Jan 3 : The Cathoiic Association of Shillong, with deep concern, expressed its protest and anxiety on behalf of the Catholic Church on the letter issued and sent by Special Branch: Assam Police to all Deputy Commissioners of Police (int.) and Superintendents of Police at all districts of the state.
This letter dated 16th December 2022 is on the subject “Religious Conversion reg”. The letter bears references to the two conferences held by the department on the 2nd November, 2022 and on the 21’t Decemher,2022 respectively.
What transpired from the content of the letter, the motive of the government is very alarming in nature particularly towards Christian minorities in the state.
The seven particulars sought by the department specifically targeting Christians in the state by asking for details on: the number of new churches established during last one year, allotted land for construction and key persons associated with the church, instances of conversion in the last 6 years, list of existing churches, community, area and other patterns associated with religious conversion, identity of pivotal persons and status of police cases if any, prime factor responsible for conversion and suggestions on counter measures/ mechanism are nothing short of attempts to intimidate and threaten the community at large.
In this regard, the Catholic Association of Shillong, categorically stated that under article 25, 26, 27 and 28 of the Indian constitution, all Indian citizens have been legally bestowed with the right to freedom of religion.
Further, the letter seems to be biased as some section within the government machinery want to target Christian community by seeking particular details that legalIy do not seem tenable. The details sought with regard to community, area and, pattern of conversation surely befits the term prejudice towards some particular communities, regions and cultural receptivity of such community. In short, the exercise seems verminous by the attempt to create fear psychosis among the Christian communities in the state.
It also speaks volume about the disdain by some with regard to the gigantic contributions of the church in social development parameters of the region as a whole and the state in particular.
The Association also urged the intervention of the Central Govemment through the Home Ministry to ensure that such exercises of targeting Christian minorities be stopped once and for all and instead take steps to enhance the space of communal harmony. The contribution of the Christian institutions be it in health, education, social mobility, economic growth, and culture should be regarded with positive outlook.
The Association appealed upon the Government of Assam, particularly the Chief Minister of Assam, Himanta Biswas Sarma to kindly reverse such an order with immediate effect and ensure that Christians in the state are shown the leaf of hope and confidence under a constitutional government where everyone will remain patriotic towards their motherland, India and the federated state.