10/31/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – Recently, India’s Minister for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, met with the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Samuel Brownback. During that meeting, Minister Naqvi told Ambassador Brownback that the rights of minorities were absolutely safe in India and are being protected by the BJP-led government.
According to reports, Minister Naqvi told Ambassador Brownback that “India is an example of unity in diversity for the entire world.” According to Minister Naqvi, not a single major riot has taken place in India since the BJP-led government took power in 2014.
Unfortunately, these lofty claims by the Minister for Minority Affairs do not reflect reality in India. According to the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), the number of violent attacks on Christians have more than doubled since the BJP-led government took power. In 2014, EFI recorded 147 violent attacks against Christians in India. In 2018, after four years of BJP rule, EFI recorded 325 incidents.
Indirectly referencing these and other violent incidents documented against other religious minority communities, Minister Naqvi claimed these were “criminal incidents against individuals of minorities.” Minister Naqvi went on to explain that strict action has been taken by law enforcement against the perpetrators of such crimes.
Again, the Minister’s claims do not reflect reality in India. According to a recent report by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Christians in India have already suffered 247 instances of persecution in 2019. According to ADF, First Information Reports, a report filed by police that initiates an investigation, have only been filed in 28 of the 247 cases documented.
Article 25 of India’s constitution guarantees the freedom of religion for all of the country’s citizens. However, the last five years of BJP rule have seen a government that only pays lip service to this constitutional protection. The BJP-led government must do more to secure the rights of religious minorities in India, including the country’s Christians. Until then, such lofty claims are better left unsaid.
For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].