All nine Catholic bishops of India’s north-eastern Jharkhand State have sought federal intervention to stop Christians being treated like terrorists as part of alleged state government harassment.
The bishops told governor Draupadi Murmu, who is the representative of the Indian president, that the state government led by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had used its Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) to probe Christian institutions.
On July 30, three days after meeting Murmu, they also sent a memorandum to federal Home Minister Rajnath Singh seeking his assistance on the issue.
“We are now treated as terrorists and officials of the ATS are after us as if we are involved in terrorist activities,” Auxiliary Bishop Telesphore Bilung of Ranchi, who organized the meeting, told ucanews.com.
He said for the past few months, police had been arresting church people on trumped-up charges and investigators had raided Christian groups in “clear state-sponsored harassment.”
In some cases, the ATS served notices on Christian institutions ordering them to produce financial details within 24-hours, the bishop said.