The Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) has expressed serious concern at reported threats to the life of John Dayal, the national convenor of the United Christian Forum for Human Rights. In a statement issued in New Delhi on August 9, the secretary general of the CBCI, Oswald Gracias, said Dayal is being deliberately targeted by some because of his role in raising public awareness of attacks against Christian in India. Gracias said Dayal is apparently seen as a threat by those who want to ignore the rights of minorities in the country and wish to silence his campaign.Dayal started voicing the concerns of the Christian community in 1997 and regularly exposed the systematic hate campaign against Christians by Hindu fundamentalists. In May, Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) spokesman P. Venkaiah Naidu accused Dayal of "using the cover of a religious organization to carry on his strident tirade against the BJP and the government." In a statement at a press conference, Naidu told Dayal to cease his "political" activities.Minorities Commission member John Joseph also accused Dayal of favoring political parties and projecting the government in a bad light. The former president of the CBCI, the late Catholic archbishop Alan de Lastic, had also defended Dayal's role as spokesman for the Christian community before he died in a car accident on June 21 in Poland. In a letter to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, de Lastic said Dayal was working for the protection of human rights.Earlier, in a letter to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Dayal asked for protection, saying he feared for his life and property because of his role in mobilizing public opinion against attacks on Christians."I have been politically targeted, ...

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India's Bishops Fear for the Life of Prominent Christian Activist
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