By ICC’s India Correspondent
3/24/2015 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern)-Christians of all denominations and Civil Society groups came together in New Delhi on March 19, to protest the past 300 days of Modi’s rule. Modi has failed to restrain hate and violence against religious minorities, specifically Christians and Muslims, in various states of India. Instead, the civil society has responded to these religious minorities with unbridled targeted hate and violence with near complete impunity.
Mr. Narendra Modi, a strong Hindu nationalist, was sworn in as a Prime Minister on May 26 2014, after a land slide victory of the Nationalist Political Party, BJP (Bharathiya Janatha Party) in last year’s General elections. Modi came into office promising the people of this country of progress and development. However, since Modi came into power the attacks on Christians and Churches have increased abruptly. The Christians gathered in protest of what they see as the opposite of progress and development; they see persecution and discrimination of their religious beliefs.
According to a report released by United Christian Forum, “the aggravating communal situation in these 300 days listed at least 43 deaths in over 600 cases of violence, 149 targeting Christians and the rest Muslims, Desecration and destruction of churches, assault on pastors, illegal police detention of church workers, and denial of Constitutional rights of Freedom of Faith aggravate the coercion and terror unleashed in campaigns of Ghar Wapsi and cries of Love Jihad. Since May 2014, there has been a marked shift in public discourse”.
Dr. John Dayal, Spokesman of the United Christian Forum said that, “I am happy to see the national solidarity against religious nationalism. For the Christian community, which feels betrayed by the government, it is good to know that the nation stands with them.” He continued, “what we need from Mr. Modi is to identify the elements who vitiate the environment, and whose actions threaten the community. It is time the government put a stop on the hate speech [of the Sangh Parivar, RSS and their organizations]to begin with”.
Leaders of the major political parties and prominent civil society members spoke at length during the protest, condemning the hate campaign and religious violence that threatens religious freedom and as well as the secular fabric of India. They also condemned the recent rape of a 70-year-old Nun in West Bengal which sent shockwaves throughout India, and the world.
Rev. Vijayesh Lal, Director, Religious Liberty Commission of EFI, said, “Modi’s “assurance” to religious minorities is challenged and countered by Mr. Mohan Bhagwat, the head of the powerful Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, who asserts, repeatedly, that every Indian is a Hindu, and minorities will have to learn their place in the country”
In Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and other states, the terror, physical violence and social ostracizing of Dalit and Tribal Christians continues. The Prime Minister refuses to reprimand his Cabinet colleagues, restrain the members of his party members or silence the Sangh Parivar which claims to have propelled him to power in New Delhi.
The peaceful protest of the Christians and members of the civil society sought protection and safety of minorities while safeguarding the constitutional right for every citizen of this country for a peaceful co-existence