Christians in India were left disappointed after their Prime Minister failed to specifically confront escalating religious violence perpetrated by the country’s radical Hindu nationalists. For many Christians and Muslims, Modi’s failure to confront these groups has been a major reason why the violence against religious minorities in India is hitting an all time high. According to some of the radical groups, Modi’s silence on this issue is “tacit approval” of their activities. Will Modi take steps to speak out against growing religious violence spreading in India or will he maintain the status quo that has only allowed the violence to escalate?
08/18/2017 India (The Tablet) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence day address has done little to reassure the country’s Christian population, as numbers of targeted attacks against Christians continues to rise.
Addressing the nation from the historic Red Fort in New Delhi on 15 August, Modi declared that India is “the land of Gandhi and Buddha, we have to move forward taking everyone along…We have to successfully carry it forward and that is why in the name of faith, violence cannot be allowed.”
Yet Christians have said the Prime Minister failed to denounce the targeted sectarian violence that minority Christians and Muslims have been subjected to under Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party, known for espousing a Hindu nationalist agenda.
John Dayal, one of the leading Catholic activists in the country, noted that Modi’s address “left most people disappointed”.
“His critics have come away convinced that he has no plan, or no inclination, to really stop and punish those responsible for the lynchings that have followed the ban on beef and cattle trade, on targeted violence against Muslims and Christians, and those who are eroding what we call the secular fabric of India,” Dayal said.
“Because of the delay in outright condemning violence by the far right fringe, not many would believe it even if the PM Modi is serious in the Independence Day message,” said Joseph Dias, founder of Mumbai-based outspoken group, Catholic Secular Forum (CSF).
The CSF in its 2016 report on attacks on Christians by Hindu fundamentalist groups pointed out that 2015 – Modi assumed office in 2014 – saw an unprecedented spike in “intolerance” against the community, citing that, on an average, India saw one such incident of hate crime against Christians every day.
“Minorities would need to see action against the communal perpetrators, to have faith in the government’s sincerity,” Dias told the Tablet on 17 August.