ASIA / INDIA – Violence against Christians, “flagrant violation of the Constitution”


ASIA / INDIA – Violence against Christians, “flagrant violation of the Constitution”

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) – The attacks against the Indian Christian faithful are clear and flagrant violations of the Constitution, and as such must be prosecuted and stopped: this is how priests, religious, promoters of human rights. man in Indian society spoke the day after the publication of the Report, by a group of Christian organizations, which reported in 2021 more than 300 episodes of violence against Christians in India. The document, sent to Agenzia Fides, is written by NGOs such as “United Against Hate”, “Association for Protection of Civil Rights” and “United Christian Forum” and others. “What is happening to Christians in India is nothing new. This has been happening with frightening regularity in states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for more than 20 years, ”comments Fr Cedric Prakash, a Jesuit scholar and writer, active in the defense and promotion of human rights.
“However, since 2014, members linked to the ‘Hindutva’ ideology (which advocates Hindu religious nationalism) have been pushing their agenda forward with violence and hate propaganda against religious minorities, such as Christians and Muslims, enjoying a greater impunity, ”he explains. “Even the most intransigent Hindu rulers hide behind immunity saying: we are the rulers; no one can touch us, nothing will happen to us, ”said Father Prakash. “The attacks and threats have increased dramatically. This is totally against the Constitution, democratic ethics and the pluralistic fabric of the country. The Indian people must stand up to stop this fanaticism immediately before it is too late. “he said.
According to the report titled “Christians Attacked in India”, released on October 21, most attacks on Christians are reported in three northern Indian states such as Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Delhi.
“The fears and suspicions about Christians converting Hindus are completely unfounded. Brutal attacks have taken place in 21 states. Most of the incidents occur in the northern states and 288 cases are of mass violence.
This is a frightening situation, which raises critical questions about the role of the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) and the Ministry of the Interior and the failures to put an end to this violence, ”he said. said Catholic leader AC Michael, former member of the Commission for Minorities. in Delhi and today national coordinator of the United Christian Forum (UCF). More than 49 complaints were filed in the police stations, but no action was taken, the text notes. The investigation shows that most of the violence took place against Christians who belong to Dalits and tribal communities. The perpetrators of the attacks are Hindu nationalist groups who accuse Christians of converting Hindus through flattery, money or other forms of aid.
The accusation is totally denied by Christians: as Minakshi Singh, general secretary of the “Unity in Christ” group, a Protestant organization based in Delhi, which contributed to the report, points out, “this is not at all true, in in fact there has been no significant change in the percentage of the Christian population, in fact, its number is decreasing, “he notes.
Father Ajaya Kumar Singh, Catholic priest, lawyer and human rights defender, told Agenzia Fides: “Freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental right. It is the cornerstone of all rights because it involves consciousness. century of proselytizing without proof and without real reasons. “To accuse Christians of forcibly converting others to Christianity is pure propaganda and is a pretext for committing violence. Everyone has the right to choose their beliefs. The proof of freedom of religion is the right to convert, “the priest told Agenzia Fides.” In some villages, Christian churches have been devastated, in others pastors have been beaten or mistreated. Assemblies of the faithful were dispersed by crowds of violent people and Christians were left in hospital with injuries. Police are also accused of threatening worshipers, dragging them to police stations and raiding them during Sunday prayer services, ”the priest said, commenting on the report.
“There is a need to bring out the real facts as much as possible, with independent investigations. No one should apologize or be ashamed of exercising the right to choose their religion or belief. We appreciate that independent civil society groups, which protect individual freedoms, join this campaign to bring the issues to light, ”concludes Father Singh.
In a recent episode, a group of 30 activists belonging to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Council of Hindus) and Bajrang Dal (Party of the tough and the strong) forced a Catholic school in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh to install a statue of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, on campus. Also in the past, Madhya Pradesh, which is ruled by the Hindu nationalist party BJP, has recorded numerous cases of violence against Christians, priests and nuns.
According to the 2011 Indian census, there are 966 million Hindus out of an Indian population of 1.3 billion. Muslims number 172 million, while Christians total 29 million. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 27/10/2021)

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