Church leaders in India have called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP-led government to take action against Hindu radicals attacking Christians and their places of worship. This call came after reports of a series of attacks on religious services across India in the lead up to Holy Week. Since taking power in 2014, the government led by Modi and his party have witnessed a sharp rise in religious intolerance and attacks on religious minorities and their places of worship. Many claim that the impunity the government has given Hindu radicals is a major contributor to this trend. Will Modi and his government take action on behalf of Christians or will attacks continue unchecked?
04/17/2017 India (The Christian Times) – Churches in India have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take action regarding Christian persecution following several reports of disruptions of religious services before the Holy Week.
There have been reported disruptions of religious services by Hindu fundamentalists in five states in the days leading up to and on Palm Sunday.
Following the incidents, the Catholic Church in India has called on Modi, a member of the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to stop such “repeated acts.”
“We are distressed that people have begun taking the law into their own hands in various matters. This is not good for the country and not good for social and religious harmony,” Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary-general of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, told the National Catholic Register on Wednesday.
“We call upon the prime minister to rein in these unruly forces and restore India’s image,” he added.
The disruptions of church services reportedly took place in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. According to World Watch Monitor, four of the five states are ruled by the BJP. The Hindu fundamentalists reportedly interrupted the Sunday services and accused the churchgoers of “conversions.”
The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) issued a statement last Tuesday to condemn the incidents and urge the government to take action.
“We urge the respective state governments and the central [federal] government to not only take note of these violations, but also to take action to curtail the non-state actors who function with impunity,” the statement said.