Increased violence against minorities under new Indian government

Despite the promise of greater protections for religious minorities, there have been over 600 attacks on Muslim and Christian groups during the first 100 days of the new Indian government’s rule, reports Christian Today.

In response to the increase in violence, Christians and activists are planning a public protest in New Delhi on October 4, two days after a convention on minority rights is to be held.

Meeting on September 2, a central committee of over 50 Christian leaders, lawyers and social activists branded the increased persecution a “conspiracy”.

Fears had been raised following the landslide victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of the BJP Party, in May that persecution against religious minorities would increase. Modi has strong connections with Hindu groups that promote ‘Hindutva’ – which equates being Indian with having a Hindu faith, and five states in India have anti-conversion laws which state that those who wish to convert to another religion must first gain official permission; religious leaders are also required by law to report conversions or risk a three-year jail sentence themselves.

During the September 2 meeting, Indian Christian leader John Dayal warned that violent incidents of religious persecution “are not isolated”.

“There is a clear strategy and plan behind it. Such instances are only spreading,” he said.

Founding director of Act Now for Harmony and Democracy, Shabnam Hashmi, lamented the lack of religious freedom in India, and urged minorities to stand up for their rights. “It is time for all to join hands and protest,” she said.