Yogi Adityanath, the new Chief Minister of India’s Uttar Pradesh state, has told Christians that he will protect their religious freedom. This promise came during a meeting with Catholic bishops on April 21. It remains to be seen whether or not this promise will actually lead to any action. Attacks on Christians in Uttar Pradesh spiked following the BJP’s electoral victory in March and Adityanath’s past connects him with many right-wing Hindu nationalist movements. Will religious freedom in Uttar Pradesh be protected or is this just another empty promise for Christians in India?
04/25/2017 India (UCAN) – The Catholic bishops of Uttar Pradesh called on state’s new chief minister Yogi Adityanath on April 21, who assured his government’s support and protection to practice Christian faith in the state.
“He sounded very protective and welcoming,” said Archbishop Albert D’Souza of Agra, the region’s senior bishop was among the seven-member bishop’s team that met the chief minster.
However, the meeting was not meant to discuss any particular issue “but was a courtesy visit,” as it was customary for the bishop in the state capital Lucknow to visit the head of the government soon after a new government is elected.
The bishops converted the opportunity to make it possible for all available bishops to meet him and bishops of Allahabad, Bareily, Bijnor, Gorakhpur, Lucknow and Varanasi comprised the delegation besides the head of Agra archdiocese.
The chief minister told the Christian leaders that he will ensure actions against whoever create social problems in the name of religion and told the bishops to “inform his office directly whenever you face a problem,” Archbishop D’Souza said.