07/28/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – According to Asia News, a member of the Indian Parliament has demanded the expulsion of Christian missionaries from India. Rakesh Sinha, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), claims Christian missionaries are taking advantage of the religious freedom rights guaranteed by the constitution and are ruining the culture of Adivasi peoples.
Sinha made these statements in a recent interview with Dainik Jagran in support of his campaign entitled “Christian missionaries, leave India”. The statements and policy action supported by Sinha rely heavily on Hindu nationalist narratives that demonize India’s religious minorities.
“What Rakesh Sinha said is absurd,” Father Babu Joseph, former spokesman for the Indian Bishops’ Conference, told Asia News. “Legal action should be taken for his statements. In this way it slanders large sections of the population who have every right, guaranteed by the Indian Constitution, to profess the religion of their choice.”
“Already in 2018 [Sinha] wrote tweets against missionaries, calling them ‘vestiges of colonialism’ and condemning their proselytism,” Sajan K. George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians, explained to Asia News. “The theme of conversion is used by the far right as a propaganda tool.”
Unfortunately, the false narrative of mass fraudulent conversions to Christianity and Islam has been regularly utilized by Hindu nationalists for political gain. These narratives, which demonize Indian Christians and Muslims, are used to justify anti-conversion laws, and often trigger surges in persecution.
In late-June, two Muslim men were arrested in Uttar Pradesh under the state’s new anti-conversion law. BJP politicians lauded the arrests and claimed the two men were involved in the fraudulent conversion of more than 1,000 people.
The arrests and the BJP politicians’ statements that followed triggered a surge in persecution still being experienced by Christians in Uttar Pradesh. Last week, International Christian Concern (ICC) reported at least 30 Christians in Uttar Pradesh have been arrested after being falsely accused of violating the state’s anti-conversion law since the arrest of the two Muslim men in June. This surge in persecution continues with more Christians reportedly arrested over the weekend.
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