Over 10,000 NGOs serving India’s poorest populations have been forced out of India by an increasingly religiously intolerant government. Since the election of the current BJP-led government in 2014, 11,000 NGOs have been forced out of India. This includes groups like Compassion International, a Christian NGO that supported over 140,000 children living below the poverty line. Since 2014, NGOs, particularly Christian NGOs, have found it more and more difficult to fund project helping India’s poor. Concerned that these NGOs are forcefully converting Hindus to Christianity, the government has decided to force out many Christian groups using a myriad of laws and regulations.
08/11/2017 India (Christian Post) – If you’ve seen the Oscar-winning movie “Slumdog Millionaire,” then you’ve gotten a glimpse of the poverty that exists in India. Mumbai is home to one of the largest slums in the world with a million residents eking out an existence in poor sanitary conditions and extremely crowded confines.
Religious and humanitarian organizations from around the world spend their time and money to help Indian citizens through programs and donations. Christians across the U.S. take time from school or work every year to travel to India, not for a five-star vacation, but to be the hands and feet of Jesus. They are there for an eternal mission of compassion and charity, living out the Gospel. They help minister to the more than 200 million people in India — roughly a quarter of the population — who live below the poverty line.
It was the haunting images of poverty — families living on the street, children abandoned by their widowed mothers and people so starved for food that their ribs protruded — that drew Compassion International to India in the 1960s. The organization started by helping 400 children and eventually took 145,000 children under its wing. Compassion International provided food, clean water and educational opportunities to poverty’s most vulnerable victims.
Unfortunately for those children, the Indian government is using a broad provision of law to force organizations such as Compassion International out of India. After nearly 50 years, this humanitarian aid organization has been forced to leave. When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the United States several weeks ago, I asked President Trump to bring up this critical issue. The United States and India have a long-standing relationship and I, along with several of my colleagues, encouraged the president to reiterate the importance of religious liberty in India.
The Indian government, under Modi’s leadership, has made it difficult — and, in Compassion International’s case, impossible — for religious and humanitarian organizations to get funding for their charitable operations in India. These are organizations that are trying to meet the very basic needs of the impoverished. They are providing food and health care to those who would otherwise starve and suffer.
These organizations cannot transfer funds into India for their operations without the government’s permission. That permission is becoming less and less forthcoming. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are caught in a bottleneck, according to The New York Times.
Compassion International isn’t alone in encountering this problem. According to both Reuters and The New York Times, more than 11,000 nongovernmental organizations have had their licenses to receive overseas donations canceled or suspended since 2014. This has caused a negative impact that has reverberated across India in areas ranging from health care to environmental causes.
Missionary outreach, a core component of many denominations in the U.S. for more than a century, has come under attack in India as well. Southern Baptist Convention missionaries have faced increased pressure and scrutiny from Indian authorities when trying to enter the country and during their work as well.