Christian persecution in India continues to rise as looming elections in 2018 spark further anti-Christian sentiments. Since the rise of the ruling BJP-led government, Christian persecution has dramatically increased due to anti-minority rhetoric used by BJP leaders coupled with a lack of enforcement by police when Christians are attacked by Hindu radicals. With important elections around the corner, BJP leaders will likely be making more hate filled speeches that will lead to more persecution experienced by India’s Christians.
10/16/2017 India (Mission Network News) – On paper, Christians in India are allowed to practice their faith freely. In reality, there is growing opposition threatening to silence Christian activity on multiple levels. We’ve been focusing on India for many reasons recently—rising reports of persecution, the physical needs due to natural disasters, and the upcoming state and national elections.
Eight state elections will take place in 2018 with national elections following the next year. The proximity to the elections has been one cause in the uptick of violence against minorities.
Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs says, “It’s not your imagination. There has been a dramatic increase of persecution incidents in India since the ascension of Prime Minister Modi and his radical Hindu nationalist government. Government ministers have talked openly about making India a 100 percent Hindu nation where Christians and other minority religions are no longer welcome. And we have seen it move in that direction since he’s taken control.”
Nettleton is referencing Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi who is part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The values of both these groups support a Hindu-only nation.
But because every voter matters, Nettleton says he won’t be surprised to hear these values hushed when politicians speak to minority groups.
“You may see some public overtures towards minority groups—towards Muslims, towards Christians as all of the parties are trying to get to that 51 percent where they can take control. It will be interesting to see if any of that talk matches any action on the part of these government parties.”
As we mentioned last week, the current government has emboldened actors of anti-Christians sentiment. Just last month, a church in Karnataka, one of the states with elections next year, was robbed and vandalized. Today, most of the members of that church are too afraid to return.
The problem is that these actions very rarely find repercussion, as common as they are.