During this Christmas season, several Churches have been attacked. Miscreants had the audacity to vandalize schools for celebrating Christmas. On the pretext of religious conversions, the attack on Christians has become a daily affair. The Anti-Conversion Law has been proposed in the state only to harass the Christian minority community. Whenever elections are round the corner, politicians become anxious about Hindu Dharma. Their hate speeches pollute society much more than the air pollution in Delhi. While making allegations about religious conversions, an MP gives a call for the conversion of Pakistanis into Hinduism. And, he says all of this in the precincts of a religious mutt. The police who foist suo-motu cases against comedians seem to be enjoying these hate speeches.

It does not require any courage to form a group of rowdy elements and attack schools. In fact, only cowards indulge in such activities. The attacks reflect the frustration of the perpetrators who target the Christians having failed to match them in their service to the people – be it in education or health. The attackers seem to have problems not with the alleged conversions but with the service that the Christians carry out in India. Everyone knows that these services are reaching the Dalits and the downtrodden who have historically been deprived of education and health facilities. Upper castes did not even tolerate their physical proximity and did not allow them to touch community water sources. The entry of Muslims and Christians in the country slowly paved the way for these sections to get liberated from excruciating clutches of the caste system.

If Christians indulge in conversions through their services, the Sangh Parivar people should retain them through their services to the downtrodden and Dalits. Even if they didn’t do any service, they should own them up by treating them with dignity and equal social status. Neither will they do it, nor will they tolerate others do it. At stake here are the services rendered by Christians. If the provision of service is considered a crime in the eyes of a religion, how can it be accepted as a religion at all.

The economy is in tatters today. The government lacks in resources to provide for the basic needs of people. At the same time, the government is spending huge amounts for the construction of temples, statues, and cowsheds. This is not benefitting the people in any way. The money can be spent meaningfully for meeting the needs of the poor. The government should also encourage religious organizations of all hues to spend money on the poor. Instead, the government is harassing religious organizations that are engaged in the service of the poor. On the pretext of cow protection, the government sacrificed farmers interests. A situation has now been created where the government is forced to spend lakhs of rupees on sheltering the barren cows at a time when it has no funds to spend for the education and health sector. In such a situation, if a religion/community comes forward to help the poor, it is laudable. In fact, all religions should compete with each other in providing such services. If Churches who have been rendering yeoman’s service from the time of the British are indeed converting people by luring them, Hindus would have been reduced to a minority long ago. How is it that the Hindu religion is in danger now when the BJP is in power, something which did not happen even when the British ruled the country?

It is however true that the Hindu religion is in danger today but not in the way that these elements are projecting. The Hindu religion that was led by saints and noblemen such as Swami Vivekananda, Narayana Guru, Mahatma Gandhi has been captured by rowdies, goondas, suspected terrorists, and politicians. Someone who gives a call for mass rape identifies himself as a Hindu Yogi. Those who are facing criminal cases call themselves as protectors of Hinduism and indulge in all kinds of criminal activities but take protection under the garb of Hinduism. It is because of such elements that the Hinduism is truly in danger. True spiritual leaders should think of how to protect Hindu religion from such dangerous forces.

Similarly, banks in this country are in danger. So are government institutions. The country’s borders are in danger. The education system is in danger. The financial system is in danger. Politicians should discuss how to protect these institutions. Otherwise, India will find itself in a sorry state. We must first protect the country. Later we can discuss how to protect religions.

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Ankara (AP): A moderately strong earthquake struck northwest Turkiye on Monday, sending people out into the streets in fear. There was no immediate report of injuries or damage.

The magnitude 5.1 earthquake was centred in the Sea of Marmara, off the town of Gemlik in Bursa province, according to the disaster management agency, AFAD. It struck at 10:42 a.m. local time (07:42 GMT), at a depth of some 9 kilometres.

HaberTurk television said it was felt in Istanbul and other nearby regions where people left homes and offices in fear.

In February, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake devastated 11 southern and southeastern Turkish provinces as well as part of northern Syria. More than 50,000 people were killed in Turkiye.