Christians not engaged in converting people, says Union minister Barla read full article at

Christians do not get respect as they do not blow their own trumpet, said Union minister John Barla.

Union minister John Barla

Union minister John Barla said that members of the Christian community should not face injustice as was the case in Chhattisgarh. (Photo: Facebook)

By Press Trust of India: Union minister John Barla on Friday rejected allegations that Christians are engaged in converting people, and asserted that the community has immense contributions to the progress of India.

Despite that, Christians do not get respect as they do not blow their own trumpet, said the minister of state for minority affairs while addressing a Peace Rally here.

Christian schools can be found everywhere in the country, the BJP leader said asserting that a number of personalities – from Mahatma Gandhi to filmstar Shah Rukh Khan – had their schooling in such institutions.

“(Besides) there are health centres, old-age homes. Yet, after so much contribution, there is no respect. Why will there be allegations that we convert people? No, we don’t convert people,” the minister said.

Also Read | Is BJP planning a comeback in north Chhattisgarh on Hindutva issues?

BJP leaders in various states accuse Church leaders of converting people to Christianity.

“We want nothing but peace … Time has come to be united,” Barla, himself a Christian, said adding that members of the community should not face injustice as was the case in Chhattisgarh.

On January 2, a church was vandalised and six police personnel, including an IPS officer, were attacked and injured during a protest by tribals in connection with an alleged religious conversion in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur city.

“If we do not tell the world (about our contribution), we will get beaten up instead,” said the MP of Alipurduar in West Bengal.

He said that besides schools, there are hospitals, health centres, old age homes and other facilities run by Christians with their funds, but still, they do not get respect.

Barla said, “From the time I became a minister, as the minority minister, as Christian, I thought – what is our contribution to the country? What have we given and what have we got in return? – both before and after Independence. What respect did we get for our contribution?”

There are Christian schools in the remotest area of the country where there are no government institutes, he said.

Eminent personalities such as freedom fighters Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi, politicians LK Advani, Arun Jaitley, Smriti Irani, JP Nadda, “Pawar family” and filmstar Shah Rukh Khan – all studied in Christian schools, Barla claimed.

Barla said, “Christian people are not against the government. Businessmen and politicians send their children to Christian schools. Then why will we get beaten up? Why will Christians will be blamed for conversion?”

Also Read | Chhattisgarh church vandalised by tribals over ‘religious conversion’, cop injured

He said that the community also has a fault.

“The fault is that we are not showing our contribution to the nation. That’s why we did not get any respect from the government,” the minister said at the Peace Rally.

Such rallies will be held all over India next year to show the contribution of Christians to the nation, Barla said adding: “It is not a political issue. Christians only want peace and development.”

Later, he told reporters that the BJP was not involved in the Chhattisgarh church violence and it was between two groups of tribals.

Barla also alleged that the West Bengal government did not submit any proposal for the development of minority people.

Paritosh Canning, president of the Bengal Christian Council and Bishop of Calcutta, CNI, said the minister was invited to the rally as a part of the Council.

“Our objective is to bring all Christians of West Bengal on a single platform. We also want to highlight the contribution of other minorities – Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, etc – to build the country, state and society,” Canning said.

Organised by the Bengal Christian Council and other organisations, participants of the Peace Rally marched for around two kilometres from St. Paul’s Cathedral and to Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at Mayo road.

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