03/06/2023, 17.45
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Some 93 former senior Indian officials tell Modi to stop anti-Christian violence

by Nirmala Carvalho

In an open letter, the signatories, including former Foreign Minister Sujatha Singh, urge the prime minister to move against the wave of intolerance by Hindu extremists. A few days ago, a stand that distributed Bibles at the World Book Fair in Delhi was attacked. “All violence can be stopped immediately with just a word from the top leaders of the BJP”.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – A group of 93 former Indian public officials have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to take concrete actions to stem the rise in attacks against Christians across the country.

In an open letter, the Constitution Conduct Group urges Modi to reassure Christians that they will receive equal and impartial treatment from the administration and the law.

The signatories include former Delhi Deputy Governor Najeeb Jung and former Foreign Minister Sujatha Singh.

The document expressly mentions the case of Fr Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest who died after a long period of detention, and the appointment to the Madras High Court of a judge who spews “hatred against Christians".

“Christians constitute but 2.3 per cent of India’s population, and this percentage has remained more or less the same since the census of 1951,” reads the letter. “Yet, in the minds of some, this minuscule number poses a threat to the 80 per cent of the population that is Hindu!

False charges of forced conversions are a pretext for verbal, physical and psychological violence against Christians and their institutions.

“Churches and homes of tribal and Dalit Christians have been destroyed, graveyards vandalised, educational and health institutions have been attacked and prayer gatherings have been terrorised,” the letter adds, “primarily in Chhattisgarh, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.”

A few days ago, one incident occurred at the World Book Fair in New Delhi when a group of Hindutva extremists attacked the stand of Gideons International that distributed free bibles, chanting slogans like “Jai Shree Ram” (Praise to Ram) and “Bharat Mata ki jai” (Victory for the Great Mother India).

The letter goes on to say: “As Prime Minister of our country, and all of its people including Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities, and as a leading member of the BJP, we ask you to speak out against these outrageous acts, and to ensure that the police and other officials prevent such incidents from recurring”.

Lastly, it notes: “All violence can be stopped immediately with just a word from the top leaders of the BJP, the Union government and of each state government. As former civil servants, we also know that silence will beget only more violence. Christians, like all Indians now, need to be assured of equal and unbiased treatment by the executive and before the law.”

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