Break the Silence on Intolerance: Open Letter of 101 Indian Intellectuals

Among the signatories of the letter there are many friends of AsiaNews. In three years there have been at least 600 violent attacks against churches, pastors, faithful, religious and rapes of nuns. There is also a rise in violence against Dalits and Muslims. Hate is also spread by ministers and public figures. It is necessary to act "before it is too late".

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - "Safeguard the plurality and cultural diversity of India, the constitutional values ​​of the republic, such as secularism and socialism." This is the reason why 101 intellectuals write and publish an open letter addressed to Leaders of the Christian Churches to act "before it is too late". The problem that they want to stop is the "saffronization" of society, slipping towards an increasingly intolerant hindu society toward other religious communities and those outside the caste system.

Among the signatories there are some long-time associates of AsiaNews: Fr. Cedric Prakash, journalist John Dayal, Ajay Kumar Singh, Dominic Emmanuel, and many others working in the field of education, law and social activism.

The Open Letter states “The number of violent acts against Christians alone during the last 3 years (2014-2016) are over 600, including an increasing trend at social boycott that impinges on the right to life, food and livelihood. This includes physical violence, stopping of worship in churches, attacks on churches, arrests of pastors and their companions, and rapes of Nuns. The National Crime Records Bureau documented 47,064 acts of violence against Dalits in 2014, up from 32,643 in 2010. The violence against Muslims is reaching an alarming peak. The hate spewed not just by non-state actors and political functionaries, but even by Members of Parliament and sometimes by ministers forms the backdrop of this violence, as it also smothers voices seeking justice.”

"What used to be fringe, has now become mainstream. There is a systematic design to undermine the Constitution. Official machinery often seems working in tandem with the ‘vigilantes’. Street lynching, victims charged as accused, stage-managed trials; all on the basis of one’s religious and caste identities. Media seems mute, silent in self-censorship, coerced by the state, or leashed by its corporate ownership. Fake News is the final straw."

The 101 signatories criticize ecclesial leaders for their silence, although in the past the Christian community has been prophetic in defending justice, human rights and freedom, especially for the oppressed and marginalized.

"The Church, guided by you, needs to act before it is too late. This is the lesson we learn from history. It is time to stand with the victims to be the voice of poor and marginalised; time to collaborate and partner with the civil society to spread the truth; and time to take bold initiatives and action to prevent further erosion of our humane and constitutional values.

We humbly call upon you, all Christian leaders and Heads of Churches, to reflect and lead the community in the path of truth, love and justice."