Post Mortem

goi via mha suspends fcra of four churches: why and for what?

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/11/2020 1:33:51 PM IST

 These are the best times for the Government of India (GOI) via the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the most powerful ministry in India headed by Amit Shah which could impose, invoke, introduce and act on any individual or organization that it considers creating internal and external threats/disturbances or acting against the objectives for which it stands for. And certainly, for those four organizations it is indeed the worst of times whose FCRA licences have been suspended. The State via the GOI comes out with such punitive measures whenever possible as the settings for the GOI via MHA is timely since we are badly hit by coronavirus.

As we know that there are a few intellectuals languishing behind the bars for more than one year—all in the name of protecting the sovereignty of the state and those behind for alleged reasons seem to have been involved and engaged in anti-national activities. Judicial trials takes its own course and citizens will have to put up with all these. We live in a world of rule of law which should be respected.Those organizations receiving the money for certain purposes should be spent accordingly. If there were deviations, GOI via MHA would take appropriate actions, since the moneys channelled from foreign donor agencies. Ministry of Home Affairs is in-charge of monitoring the entire process. 

7th September, 2020,“The Hindu” newspaper in its first page carried a report titled No FCRA Clearance for Four Christian Groups continued to page eight starts like this: “According to the NLFA’s website, the group began its operations in India in the mid-sixties after the arrival of missionaries from the New Life Churches of New Zealand of 1964.”  Adding to the list “The Evangelical Churches Association (ECA) was founded in 1952 in Manipur. The origin of the group can be traced to a Welsh Presbyterian missionary who visited in 1910.”

Continuing further, “The Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church was established in 1987 and part of a global communion of 148 churches in the Lutheran tradition, representing over 77 million Christians in 99 countries,” the Website says. According to the report, none of the association responded when asked by the reporters of “The Hindu” to comment on government’s decision suspending the FCRA provision.  Cancellation of FCRAof the four churches raises a few questions: What are the reasons that prompted GOI via MHA to cancel the FCRA? Did the churches mentioned involve in any anti-social or anti-national or subversive activities? Did their activities contradict the stated objectives?  

It leads to a number of  apprehensions and to an extent suspicion in the minds of many for not coming out open to the press or the reasons for evading to meet the press. Since the churches and those receiving overseas funds for the public cause should be transparent and accountable. In India the BJP, Congress and CPI-M and few others have been antagonistic towards NGOs receiving foreign funds. Some viewed and branded those organization NGOs (Christian) acting as stooges of imperial powers and influencing and interfering in the national and local politics of the country particularly in the pretext of working for the poor and the downtrodden.The scales of scepticism vary from one political party to another. Some are totally antagonistic towards Churches and mission agencies receiving donations from overseas organisations. 

Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible to monitor those organizations that receives foreign funds and are given the FCRA licence and has the right to remove or suspend or even cancel the FCRA provision if they are found deviating from the objectives and purpose for which they started. The GOI headed by BJP and its principal advisor RSS, Hindutva bandwagons such as Bajrang Dal, VHP and host of others do not want money flows from foreign donors to church-based organisations as they are involved in proselytizing, particularly the tribal communitiespredominantly located in North-eastern India and other border states of North-east located in North India.There are diverse perceptions, theories and assumptions leading to proselyting activities being carried out by some churches that needs careful scrutiny. 

Every religion has its own innate contradictions and deficiencies. In that case Christianity as a religion has its own pitfalls. Rhetoric such as “Do not panic, Christianity is a failed project in India”, “British and overseas missions tried to convert Brahmins first”, “Indian Christianity has caste within”, and criticising its strategies and initiatives. However, one strong position comes from Subramanian Swamy, a hard core and one of the top Hindutva ideologues say that the “Threat to India’s integrity today is from Christian missionary organisations who use induced conversion to Christian faith to subvert the nation. Islamic terror is a more manageable threat and is mainly from with India. Amending security and foreign policy is accordingly needed.” 

Hard core and far-right ideologues within RSS-BJP operate on a broad framework that has been enunciated by Subramanian Swamy. Key words such as threat, India’s integrity, induced conversion, subverting the nation, Islamic terror manageable since it is within India, amending security and foreign policy. GOI under the aegis of BJP-RSS particularly the Ministry of Home Affairs is following stringently. On the one hand, some view that Christianity in India should not cause any alarm, while on the other are worried. Further, those belonging to right-wing Hindutva outfits say that Christianity has failed and its project lost its essence in India, while GOI via MHA cancelled the FCRA licences of four churches without offering any reasons.

The action of the Home Ministry shows that they are worried about Christianity in India as its numbers are growing in the belts of the Dalits and the Tribals. BJP-RSS and others know that the numbers they are projecting about three percent in static way is primarily to conceal the dynamic character of the Christian Gospel. It has grown significantly and is growing that causes alarm amongst the Hindutva forces. Christianity is a proselyting religion, but certainly luring and other incentives should not be involved. Those who want to embrace any religion have theirrights extended to all Indians in the Constitution. Proclamation and conversion are the basic human rights of all the Indians and the State has no right to negate or deprive.

Dr. John Mohan Razu

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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