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Government says it will help Christian mission in Rajasthan
New Delhi: The central government Monday indicated it would take steps to revive the bank accounts of a Christian mission that were frozen by the Rajasthan government after some groups alleged it was involved in defaming Hindu gods and goddesses.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil gave this assurance to a group of Left party MPs who met him in parliament to discuss the issue.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Rajasthan had frozen the bank accounts of the Emmanuel mission in Kota after Hindu groups led a "systematic campaign" against Christian missionaries there.

"The home minister assured us that the centre would take measures to ensure that the bank accounts were activated and to restore the LPG (cooking gas) connection to the orphanage in Kota which was disconnected after local agents were threatened," said Communist Party of India-Marxist MP K.S. Manoj.

Manoj was part of a five-member delegation that visited Kota Saturday to study the situation there.

Earlier in the day, CPI-M's Suresh Kurup raised the issue during zero hour in Lok Sabha and accused the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) of "leading a nefarious campaign against the Emmanuel mission".

Kurup said the Rajasthan government had frozen the mission's bank accounts and local RSS and VHP activists had threatened cooking gas agents not to provide LPG cylinders to the orphanage run by the mission. This had left around 2,800 inmates at the orphanage in trouble, he pointed out.

"The issue is serious and the home ministry should intervene against this inhuman activity," Kurup said.

The issue created pandemonium in the house and led to an abrupt adjournment by Speaker Somnath Chatterjee in the pre-lunch session following a protest by BJP members.

The BJP MPs protested and tried to disrupt Kurup. MPs from Kerala came out of their seats, insisting that Kurup should be allowed to complete his submission.

As the BJP MPs refused to take their seats, Chatterjee adjourned the house 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

Apart from Kurup and Manoj, Lonappan Nambadan, T.K. Hamsa (all from Kerala) and A.V. Bellarmin (from Tamil Nadu) were in the team that visited Kota.

The MPs pointed out that Hindu groups had been campaigning against the Emmanuel mission after one of its bookstalls started selling a controversial book that allegedly contained inflammatory remarks against Hindu gods.

"Let them take legal action against the author. Why do they want to punish others for it?" Kurup asked, referring to the orphanage.


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