The Christian Community of Delhi has organized a peaceful sit-in at the Parliament Street on afternoon of Sunday, August 30, 2015 to bring to the attention of the Government and the Nation, the systematic targeting of Christians by communal forces, despite being a tiny 2.3 % of the Indian population.
The unchecked hate has resulted in frequent violence against Christians throughout the country. Nuns, sometimes as old as 70 years, are being raped in gross contempt of law and humanity. Church clergy, buildings and institutions are being attacked with impunity and generally justice has either not been forthcoming or has been explained away.
The recent beating up of Christian Pastors in Nihal Vihar in the capital of the nation and the impunity with which it was carried out in the presence of the police, is a glaring example of the casual attitude with which even the law enforcement agencies have started to look upon the cases of hate crimes against the Christian community. Even as we protest, justice for the Nihal Vihar Pastors is awaited.
Within the past week, at least five incidents have been reported from Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Christian praying even in their own homes, in private worship, are no longer safe as they are being targeted by right wing extremists apparently drunk on political power and support.
According to partial list available Evangelical Fellowship of India's Religious Liberty Commission; there have been 147 incidents of violence and hate against the Christian community in 2014. In 2015 so far the incidents have already crossed the 100 mark. Reports by civil society groups have recorded at least 43 deaths in over 600 cases of violence, 194 targeting Christians and the rest Muslims, between 26th May 2014 and 13th May 2015. This is a worrisome trend for minorities in India.
We, the Christian community of Delhi, ask that the promises made by the Prime Minister regarding Religious Freedom and the curbing of 'violence against any religion' be fulfilled on ground level. We pray for an India that has Religious Freedom and space for people of all faiths and ideology.
We remember the timely advise of the Hon'ble President Mr. Pranab Mukherjee given earlier this year at the eve of the Republic Day of India, wherein he appealed for the preservation of the values of pluralism, tolerance and goodwill between diverse communities. He reminded us of the violence of the tongue and of the danger of the political discourse becoming a competition in hysteria abhorrent to our traditional ethos. Religion, he said, quoting Gandhiji, is a force of unity; we cannot make it a cause for conflict.
May we as a nation always heed these words and act for the welfare of the other; only then will we together create a peaceful and harmonious India for our future generations.
Jai Hind. God Bless India!
Delhi Pastors Action Team
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell - EFI
Rev. Daniel Kumar - DPAT
Rev. Emmanuel Verma - DPAT
Rev. Seth Masih - DPAT
Rev. Ajit Pal - DPAT
Rev. Vijayesh Lal - EFI
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell,
Evangelical Fellowship of India,
New Delhi, India