While Assam Christian Forum feels the cell will ‘divide Christian communities’, the saffron party says its initiative will only provide help to Mizo missionaries across India
Aizawl: A few days after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) set up a 'Christian Missionary Cell' in a predomantly Christian-inhabited Mizoram, the Assam Christian Forum has questioned the party's motive behind the establishment.
"Those who work for the Dominant Party are formed into a 'Christian Missionary Cell', whose mission will be to collect data about Christian activities and pass it on to their opponents who wish to undermine the unity of the Christian service in the Northeast," said leaders of the forum in an urgently-called meeting in Guwahati, Assam recently.
“Threat to unity is the greatest threat that we see on the horizon,” the leaders noted.
The meeting was attended by leaders from the Catholic Church, Church of North India, Council of Baptist Churches of North East India, Presbyterian Church of India, Lutheran Church, and EFI, among others.
The gathering also took note of "planned effort on the part of the ruling dispensation to divide existing Christian communities". "Dissent is being systematically sponsored, fragmentation is encouraged, irritant cells are being planted to as many Church groups are possible," the leaders said.
Reacting to the statement, Lalhriatrenga Chhangte, chairman of the BJP's 'Christian Missionary Cell' in Mizoram, said, “It is very unfortunate that allegations have been made against us that we will be collecting data and pass it on to BJP or RSS. The cell was established to provide for a 24x7 helpline to Mizo missionaries throughout the country, whenever they are in distress, [they] can call for an SOS, and assistance will be provided to any missionary in any state.”
Chhangte added that the cell is only for Mizo Christian missionaries and is not concerned about other Christian missionaries from other states.
Chhangte further opposed forum's statement saying, “We are not here to harass our own people, in fact, all Mizo BJP members are Christians, by faith and practice. Every state BJP has a minority cell and the protection of minorities is enshrined within the BJP constitution.”
Reacting to Chhangte's statement, Allen Brooks, spokesperson of the Assam Christian Forum, said: “I have not taken anybody’s name and the statement is just a reflection of Church leaders on what is happening in our society.”