Attacks on Churches in India’s Capital Prompts Christians to Warn of Rising Persecution
Following the fifth attack on a New Delhi church in just the past few months, many of India’s Christian leaders are warning about the rise of radical Hindu nationalism and persecution. Attacks on religious minorities in India, including millions of Christians, Muslims and Sikhs, have skyrocketed over the past year. Many blame this development on the election of the Hindu nationalist party BJP in May 2014. With news about the rise of Christian persecution in India spreading, will India’s government step in to secure the rights of all citizens?
2/3/2015 India (ABC) – A series of attacks on Catholic churches in the Indian capital has minority groups warning about the rise of Hindu nationalism under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The latest attack follows a series of government gaffes that have offended religious minorities, including an attempt to cancel Christmas.
On Monday the leaders of St Alphonsa Catholic Church found the South Delhi house of worship had been vandalized, the fifth attack on a Catholic church in the Indian capital in recent months.
Police in Delhi claim that the attack was a robbery, but church leaders suspect something more sinister.
“The scenario is pretty bad all over India for Christians and Muslims as well, and this is certainly worrying because this is happening right under the nose of prime minister,” said Father Dominic Emmanuel, spokesman for the Delhi Catholic Union.
“These attacks are certainly connected to the right wing Hindu fundamentalists whose voice is getting stronger and have been emboldened by last year’s election of the BJP.”
Mr. Modi’s political party, the BJP, has its roots in the Hindu fundamentalist group the RSS, which has been accused of recently trying to convert people to their religion by force.
Secularism is a sensitive topic for Mr. Modi, who has been accused of not doing enough as chief minister of Gujarat state to prevent the deaths of up to 2,000 Muslims in religious riots in 2002.
The vast majority of India’s 1.2 billion people are Hindu, but there are still millions of citizens who belong to other religions, like Islam and Christianity, many of which say they are being ignored by this government.
The Modi administration recently came under fire for printing old versions of the country’s constitutional preamble in newspapers on India’s national day, a version which omitted the word “secular”, which was added in 1976.
It has also been criticized for proclaiming December 25 as Good Governance Day, to mark the birthday of former BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“I have told the government that if they want to increase business with western countries, in particularly America, what do they think?” Father Emmanuel said.