Written Answers. - Violence in India.

John Bruton

Question:

197 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to a report in a newspaper (details supplied) in relation to Hindu mobs attacking Christian churches in India; and the representations, if any, he has made to the Indian Government in this regard. [1077/99]

I have noted with great concern the recent reports of communal violence in the Indian state of Gujarat in the course of which serveral Christian churches and other property has been destroyed by groups of Hindus. It is understood that the attacks have taken place in the Dangs district of Gujarat which is inhabited mainly by tribal people. Tribal groups are among the most marginalised communities in India and live outside of mainstream Hindu society.

The matter has been the subject of consultations within the EU. It has now been agreed that the Presidency, through its Ambassador in New Delhi, should convey the concern of EU member states on the issue to the Indian authorities. It is hoped that the latter will take the appropriate action necessary to prevent further violence and uphold the traditionally secular nature of Indian society.