Anti-Christian violence in India has been escalating over the past couple of months due to Hindu radical groups being emboldened by the election of the Hindu nationalist political party BJP to India’s national government. The Archbishop of New Delhi has spoken out against this wave of violence and is calling on the Indian government to take action against the perpetrators of religiously motivated crimes.
8/12/2014 India (Catholic Online) – Archbishop Anil Couto of New Delhi has urged local and Indian authorities to take more effective measures in fighting religiously motivated violence in the wake of an attack on the compound of St. Francis Xavier Church in the state of Haryana.
Vandals damaged two buses that were parked in the compound, back on August 6, and the next day, Couto issued a statement where he expressed concern over the attack and the way authorities were handling the case.
“Reports of other attacks on Christian pastors and prayer groups are very disturbing and we request local authorities take adequate measures to bring to book the miscreants threatening to weaken the social fabric of this great nation,” the statement said.
Couto also referenced an attack on a group of Pentecostal pastors who belonged to a church in the same state which occurred last year, and the statement quoted media reports which allege that a group of Hindu nationalist organizations have collected a list of people who converted to Islam or Christianity and attempt to re-convert them.
“This move by fundamentalist groups is a grave assault on the fundamental rights of individuals and peoples’ groups,” he said.
Throughout 2013, there were many reports of Christian persecutions across India, including the murder of seven Christians, and 4,000 who suffered anti-Christian violence.
A member of the Indian government’s National Integration Council, John Dayal, reported that the government has seen a sharp rise of hate campaigns against Christians by political organizations.
“This threat of purging Christians from villages extends from Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh to now Uttar Pradesh, and to the borders of the national capital of New Delhi,” he said.
Dayal said the threat from the Hindu nationalist groups were largest from 1999-2004, when the National Democratic Alliance controlled the government and was led by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian people’s party), especially in more tribal areas.
“[The Hindu nationalist group] has always nurtured a deep hostility against the Christian community because of its position on the emancipation of Dalits and its empowerment of the marginalized including tribals,” Dayal said. “That is why it makes allegations against Christians about conversions and then attacks churches, priests, nuns and other landless peasantry and the poor.”