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‘Election Manifestos Don’t Mention Us’: Meerut’s Christian Community

In UP's Meerut, Christians say they feel neglected by the state government.

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English Script: Fuzaila Khan

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

Ahead of the elections across states in India, a common issue finds mention in speeches of contesting candidates — minority rights.

However, in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district, members of the Christian community say that their issues don’t any find any mention in any of the election manifestos. They say they feel neglected by the state government.

CHURCHES ATTACKED; EMERGENCE OF A ‘HINDU RASHTRA’

When questioned about their safety in UP, Arun Stephen, Gen-Sec for Meerut’s United Christian Association said that their Churches have been attacked, quite a few times. People were beaten, and women were molested. “We only demand that those involved are punished to maintain peace in the area,” he added.

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Consequently, pastors in UP are often accused of forceful conversion. According to Manish Mukherjee, a pastor in UP, this has created a fearful atmosphere. He believes the issue is being exploited and thrown around to falsely accuse people.

Another contentious issue of UP is that of the nation becoming a ‘Hindu Rashtra’. Sanjay Ray, a government employee, commenting on the matter, calls it a baseless political statement. He believes that such statements are motivated by vote bank politics and that no citizen would ever desire a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, so it will never become a reality.

‘NO REPRESENTATION FOR THE COMMUNITY’

Talking about the election manifesto, Sunil Robert, President of Shibra Society, said that they don’t see any candidate representing their community in any of the elections.

"The government should at least allow churches to practise autonomously and give Christian minorities reservations in various sectors."
Lalit Stephen, Member of All India Christian Council

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