Dec. 19th, 1999
© Akhilesh Mithal

Staines' Killers Must Have Powerful Protectos


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Continued from the previous week.

We should now address the area of "conversion" outside matrimony. This is another non-issue made much of by the Parivaar. The allegation is that Christians and Muslims are waxing in numbers at the cost of Hindus by resorting to methods that are at the least, unfair and immoral if not downright criminal. The Hindus are therefore justified in reacting, retaliating and responding with whatever means available to them. The tactics they have adopted include raping nuns, burning missionaries along with their Bibles, crosses, churches and whatever smacks of Christianity.

The most spectacular and brutal outrage saw a missionary working with lepers, Graham Staines, burnt alive along with his two sons aged nine and seven in January 1999.

People responded in various ways. The chief executive of India, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s response was to offer a debate on conversions. As if to allege that Staines was killed most brutally along with his tender sons, for being in the business of conversions.

The media under the Parivaar’s influence and control, strengthened by government pressure printed the alleged views of Gandhi as if to show that in the matter of opposing conversions they were Gandhians or that the Mahatma was in tune with them.

Historian Sumit Sarkar has investigated the matter and we are indebted to him for what follows. Mahatma Gandhi’s Collected Works, Volume XLVI [pages 27-28] gives the details.

"In an interview given to The Hindu, Gandhi apparently stated that if in self-governing India, missionaries kept on "proselytising by means of medical aid, education etc, I would certainly ask them to withdraw. Every nation’s religion is as good as any other. Certainly, India’s religions are adequate for her people. We need no converting spiritually’."

Sumit Sarkar goes on to quote from the original article which appeared in Young India on April 23, 1923. Here Gandhi begins with the passage quoted above and used or abused by the Parivaar but goes on to add "This is what a reporter has put into my mouth — all I can say is that it is a travesty of what I have always said and held."

Even more remarkable is the elaboration and enumeration of India’s "great" and "all-sufficing" faiths which obviate the necessity for other nation’s faiths to be propagated here.
Gandhi lists "Apart from Christianity and Judaism, Hinduism and its offshoots, Islam and Zoroastrianism are living faiths’ as Indian religions." Gandhi ends the article with a plea for "living friendly contact among the great religions of the world and not a clash amongst them..."

Thus it can be seen that the killers of Gandhi cannot get support for their murder of Staines by quoting his works. The perpetrator of this outrage has protection and until the time of going to press he has been able to evade arrest.

Readers will remember that Subramanian Swamy was "underground" during the 1975-1977 Emergency. He came to the Lok Sabha while still on the "most wanted" list, raised a "point of order" and disappeared without trace. He was under the protection of the RSS and this helped him evade apprehension and arrest.

The killer of Staines and sons must have powerful protectors. But what about the rule of law? When will the police arrest the killers? Or will this be like the earlier Babri Masjid story where the perpetrators not only went away scot-free but are in power and flourishing.


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