January 25, 2015 – Matt Waterson, NEWS CONSORTIUM Catholic Online

In 2014, India saw a wave of violence towards Christians that left five dead, including one 11-year-old child. Another 7,000 people experienced other persecution that year, a new report from the Mumbai-based Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) revealed.

The Christian Persecution Report revealed that another 300 clergymen or leaders of Christian communities were victims of violence.

Most of India is Hindu, but there is also a large population of Muslims, Sikhs and Christians — largely Catholic. In recent years the country of more than a billion has seen a sharp turn towards nationalism and fundamentalism, and those who do not fit the Hindu Indian profile are being targeted for violence or discrimination.

In an interview with ucanews.com, CSF’s general secretary, Joseph Dias spoke the reason this disturbing trend has arisen.

“Some right-wing forces have become active since the pro-Hindu Bhartiua Janata Party took over the reins of the country.”

In early to mid 2014, Central India’s Chhattisgarh state, 50 villages had passed laws that banned non-Hindu religious ceremonies, while in October of that year, Hindu radicals attacked a dozen Christian villagers in the same district.

“Such incidents prove that the right-wing forces in the country want to make India a (Hindu-majority) hub, and there is a hate campaign going on against the minorities in the country,” Michael Saldanha, CSF chairman, told ucanews.com.

India has had a long history of religious violence between Hindus and other religious minorities. Through much of the middle 1900s Hindus targeted Muslims and there was a great deal of killing and violence in the northern and western regions of India. Both Sikhs (1960s) and Christians (late 1900s through now) have been victims in more recent times.

The CSF has appealed to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop these violent acts against Christians and the Christian community of India. But Modi is seen by most religious minority groups, not just Christian, as a Hindu nationalist, and they fear that the recent wave of violence is effectively being state sponsored.


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