Christian Leaders Warn Against Growing Religious Nationalism in India

ICC Note: Christian leaders in India have warned against the promotion of nationalism based on a single religion, stating that such a policy would lead India down a path of “self-annihilation.” Christians and other religious minorities in India have come under increasing attack in recent years. Much of the violence can be attributed to the proliferation of radical Hindu nationalists who operate with near impunity under the current BJP-led government. Will India’s political leaders listen to this warning from Christians?

02/14/2018 India (UCAN) – The promotion of nationalism based on religion threatens India with annihilation, the nation’s Catholic bishops warned at the conclusion of a biennial meeting.

The alarm was sounded following a series of hardline Hindu attacks on Christian and other religious minorities.

This included attempts by mobs of young Hindus to conduct avowedly patriotic rituals in the grounds of Catholic colleges, notably involving the personification of ‘Mother India.’

It was dangerous to promote nationalism based on any particular culture or religion, the Feb. 2-9 gathering of some 200 bishops from 174 dioceses warned.

“Such misconceived efforts can only lead our nation on the path of self-annihilation,” they said.

The bishops met in the southern city of Bangalore for discussions under the theme ‘United in diversity for a mission of mercy and witness.’

They agreed that enhancing of India’s rich cultural and religious diversity was needed to achieve peace and progress.

Militant Hindu groups have stepped up violence against minorities since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power nationally four years ago, critics say.

In 2017, India witnessed 736 incidents of violence against Christians, according to a report of the ecumenical forum ‘Persecution Relief.’

Some hardline Hindu groups portray Christians and Muslims as being loyal to foreign powers.

A number of Hindu leaders have publicly called for Muslims to leave India and settle in Muslim-majority nations and for Catholics to move to Rome.

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