Christian leaders in India are calling on Christians in the U.K. to put pressure on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his official visit to do more to protect Christians from growing religious intolerance. Since taking office in May 2014, attacks on Christians and their places of worship in India have skyrocketed. Despite this increase in attacks, the actions of the Prime Minister has been less dramatic. In the face of this growing intolerance, the Prime Minister has only spoken out twice in defense of religious tolerance. More must be done to protect Christians and other religious minorities in India.
11/13/2015 India (Christian Today) – Evangelicals in India are calling on Christian leaders in the UK to pressure the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit this week to intervene to help persecuted Christians in India.
Christians are being beaten and killed in India and the influence of hardline Hindus has increased since Modi’s government was elected in summer last year, according to the charity Open Doors.
Vijesh Lall, secretary of the Freedom and Development Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India, told Christian Today: “The situation has deteriorated in the north. It is not just Christians. It is other minorities and civil society being affected as well.”
He described one incident where Christian pastors were beaten and jailed simply for praying together in a private house.
“The Christians on the ground are fearful and have been for quite some time. People used to attack Christians if they evangelized on the street. Now Christians are not even safe if they are praying in their own homes.
“In one incident not long ago about 35 kilometers from Delhi, 13 pastors were gathered in the house of another pastor. They were praying. It was prayer meeting. There was no preaching or evangelizing. They were attacked and beaten. They were taken to the police station where they were told: ‘This is a Hindu nation. Your kind of prayers are not allowed.’ They were released later that day after many hours in custody.”
He conceded that the Modi had on at least two different occasions said everyone in the country will have freedom of religion. “But nothing seems to be happening on the ground.”
Last year there were 147 anti-Christian incidents and already this year to the end of October there have been 130.
“I do not see a bright future unless the Prime Minister really does something. He’s there in your country now. Maybe people can try and talk to him about this,” he pleaded.
Of the population of 1.21 billion, about 2.3 per cent are Christian, between 25 million and 27 million.