SC tells MHA to verify attacks against Christians in 8 states


The SC asked MHA to seek verification reports from eight states including Karnataka regarding FIRs, arrests etc. as it couldn’t form an opinion on a plea alleging rising attacks on Christians.

The Supreme Court on Thursday, September 1, asked the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to seek verification reports from Bihar, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh on a plea alleging attacks on the Christian community. The apex court granted two months to conduct the entire exercise, which includes information related to the registration of FIRs, arrests made, the status of investigation, and the charge sheets filed. A bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli said that it “can’t form an opinion on the veracity of allegations made (in the plea) submitted to us”. The bench added that it would be better to verify the allegations made in the plea.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing the petitioner, submitted that 700 prayer meetings of Christians were stopped and violence was used against them. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Union government, said the MHA on verification found that many incidents referred to in the plea as communal attacks, were found to be either “false or exaggerated”. The Union government has told the Supreme Court there is no merit in the plea alleging increasing attacks on Christians in the country.

It said that such “deceptive petitions” were “creating unrest throughout the country … perhaps for getting assistance from outside the country to meddle with internal affairs of the nation.” The MHA, in a written response, said: “It is submitted that there appears to be some hidden oblique agenda in filing such deceptive petitions, creating unrest throughout the country and perhaps for getting assistance from outside the country to meddle with internal affairs of our nation.”

The Ministry said the petitioner has resorted to “falsehood” and “self-serving documents” and also cited press reports where Christian persecution was “either false or wrongfully projected.” The MHA’s response came on a plea alleging a rising number of attacks on Christian institutions and priests across the country and seeking the implementation of its guidelines to curb hate crimes. The petitioners Rev Peter Machado and others sought implementation of the guidelines issued by the apex court in the 2018 Tehseen Poonawala judgment.

Courtesy TNM

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