Church Leaders in India Speak Out Against New Citizenship Law
01/11/2020 India (International Christian Concern) – India’s leading Catholic, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay, has recently spoken out against the country’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Act. The Christian leader called the law, “a cause of great anxiety for all citizens.”
On December 12, the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed by India’s parliament and established a path for undocumented migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan to gain Indian citizenship. However, the law only applies to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians, terming them persecuted religious minorities. Expressly excluded from this path to citizenship are Muslims.
Thousands in India have protested against the new law, saying that it damages the secular and pluralistic heritage of India. These protests have been met with violence and have led to the deaths of more than 20 people.
“There is a danger that there could be a polarization of our peoples along religious lines,” Cardinal Gracias told Crux. “[This] is very harmful for the country. It is the responsibility of all to promote solidarity and respect for all in our country.”
Since taking power in 2014, the BJP-led government has pursued many controversial policies based on the party’s Hindu nationalist ideological foundation. Due to this and widely used anti-minority rhetoric by BJP leaders, religious intolerance and instances of outright religious persecution have dramatically increased across the country.
According to ADF India, more than 300 incidents of mob violence against India’s Christian community were documented in 2019 alone. Of those incidents, only 40 were prosecuted by police.
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