May 25, 2020
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Bible Bonfires

Bible Bonfires
WHEN police in Greater Kailash initiated a headcount of local Christians last week, some residents were not so sure that the only motive was protection from Hindu extremists. Thinking that there could be a hidden agenda for targeting individual Christian families can't be dismissed as paranoia so soon after the gruesome murder of the Staines family. Any parent anywhere weeps at the thought of two lads burning alive beside their father while they were asleep -regardless of religious beliefs. But the cynical political spin on what could be either a hate crime or part of an organised campaign is almost as stomach-churning.

The incident affects me very differently as a mother, as a lapsed Baptist, or as a tabloid journalist. What baffles me as a reporter are the accusations that the foreign press corps has magnified this murder out of context in order to attack the bjp's image abroad. Such awful events will grab headlines: 'Widow Gladys 'Upset, not Angry' at Jungle Camp Missionary Murders.' Each interpretation, including the notion that Bible bonfires in Gujarat could be used as a plot to dislodge Soniaji, appeared first or simultaneously in the lively local press. It may be opportunistic, but it's my job to seize on sensational events. Here's another tale just as grisly as the tandoor murder case. (Or, for a recent example from my own country, as when young bigots gloated as 'Gay Youth Crucified on Gate.' )

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