Pandemic Brings Opportunity for Faith Groups to Grow Closer in India
05/26/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – While India and the greater parts of South Asia are in the throes of COVID-19, some bright spots in the deeply religiously-divided country have emerged as points of hope. Houses of worship, including churches, are welcoming people from various faith backgrounds as they transform into COVID-19 treatment centers. As such, the pandemic has, in some sense, cultivated an opportunity for deeper brotherhood within India.
Hardline supporters of Prime Minister Modi—including the BJP and the RSS—have blamed religious minorities for the COVID crisis and spun conspiracy theories to create deeper divisions within India. The decision of religious groups to open doors to all who are suffering from the pandemic has been a welcomed sign and hopefully will create further trust between the groups.
India has been a growing point of concern for many religious freedom advocates and human rights defenders as recent policies pushed by the BJP and likeminded supporters have increasingly marginalized religious minorities and made them a target of violence and discrimination.
Recorded cases of persecution increased significantly from 149 in 2014 to nearly 350 verified cases of persecution against Christians alone just a few years later. The real numbers are likely much larger, but the trend is pronounced enough to cause significant alarm within the Christian community.
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