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Prelate slams religious profiling report

June 28, 2011 by  
Filed under lead story, Persecution

Archbishop Leo Cornelio, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

Archbishop Leo Cornelio

The head of the Catholic Church in Madhya Pradesh has dismissed the findings of a government investigation into alleged profiling of Christians in the central Indian state.

“The probe has not answered the basic questions,” Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal said yesterday after reading the probe report.

The state’s intelligence department, which conducted the investigation, concluded the profiling was the result of a “misunderstanding resulting from a breakdown in communications” among officials in the police department.

The report, signed by the director general of police (intelligence), has not held anyone responsible for the fiasco.

A police circular issued in March sparked nationwide protests against the Madhya Pradesh government, which was accused of targeting Christians.

The circular sought details on where the Christian community obtained its funds, the number of its educational institutions, and details of criminal records in what critics say was an apparent bid to brand Christians as thugs.

The pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People’s Party) now rules the state. The party is considered the political arm of several Hindu extremist groups that are blamed for several acts of anti-Christian violence in the state.

Archbishop Cornelio says the Church wants to know the identity of those behind the circular that “branded Christians criminals.”

He said he would write to government officials since the report did not clarify this.

“No low level official in the police would have had the courage to issue such an order without instruction from higher up,” the prelate said.

– Ucan

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