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ICC Note:

Christians in India have decided to shutdown Christian hospitals and other institutions such as schools in protest today. Emergency services to hospitals will remain in service, but Christians are hoping to draw attention the the drastic increase in persecution under the new BJP-led government. Many Christian leaders claim the government has turned a blind eye to Christian persecution and has done little to protect Christians and their places of worship.

4/23/2015 India (Times of India) – As Christian community prepares to stage a protest on Thursday with closure of all Christian educational and medical institutions to remain closed, members of other minority communities have pledged their support too. Emergency services in hospitals, however, will not be affected. Over 5,000 people representing various minority communities will reach GPO park to observe ‘Black day’ and send a memorandum to chief minister and governor after a peaceful protest.

Almost 100 academic institutions of 10 districts, along with Christian hospitals and clinics will remain close on Thursday. The community has also received support from Maulana Kalbe Jawad, Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangimahali and the head of Sadar Gurdwara.

The community is protesting alleged apathy of the government towards them with no action against campaigns like ‘Ghar wapsi’ and speeches that hurt minorities. They plan to stage such protests at the state and national level, if their rights are not protected.

“The government is not taking adequate and stringent action against the atrocities being committed with the community continuously. Throughout the year such acts have been taking place but police and governments at Centre and the state have both taken no action,” said Bishop Mathais, addressing reporters on behalf of the Uttar Pradesh Masihi Association (UPMA).

UPMA claims that 20 attacks on minorities across the state have occurred since July 2014.

Speaking to the media, the bishop added, “Christmas was selected as the day for celebrating good governance day, which only set up a bad example. Around Good Friday, the meeting of Chief Justices of India was convened, which Christian justices were forced to attend, undermining their important events. Then they are politicians and their followers who organize Ghar wapsi programmes and give speeches that hurt the community. All this shows that the government is trying to ignore our sentiments, as we are not a vote bank for them.”

Suggesting just promises will not be enough for the community Bishop Augustus Anthony said, “Sometime back, at a Christian gathering, PM Modi had assured safety to the community, but even then churches are being attacked. We are Indians and our rights should be protected and we should be treated equally.”

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