A minute for the persecuted church – INDIA
Edited and submitted by Al Coats
On April 11, India’s national election began. In this election, some 900 million voters will choose 543 members of India’s national parliament. The party that wins the majority of those seats will form India’s next government after the election ends on May 23.
As a part of their campaign strategy, the BJP, an openly Hindu nationalist party, has and continues to use religious nationalism as a means of motivating their voter base. Using religiously-charged rhetoric and promoting Hindu nationalist policies, BJP leaders have pitted two identities of India against one another: India as a Hindu nation verses India as a secular nation.
In addition, many BJP leaders continue to use rhetoric that disparages India’s religious minority communities.
One example: Karnataka BJP Leader KS Eshwarappa, recently claimed that “Christians are not honest and loyal citizens of India.” In response, local Christians protested against this statement and called on Eshwarappa to publicly apologize.
For religious minorities, there is a concern that this use of religious nationalism will result in their communities being harassed and relegated to second-class citizenship if the BJP wins the election again.
Since the BJP took power in 2014, religious intolerance and attacks on religious minority communities have skyrocketed. In 2014, the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) documented 147 violent attacks on India’s Christian community. In 2018, after four years of BJP rule, that number more than doubled to 325. Many blame this increase in religiously-motivated violence on the BJP-led government because of the religiously-charged rhetoric the party’s leadership uses for political gain.
With religious nationalism taking center stage at BJP campaign rallies, religious minorities have reason to be concerned about the consequences of a BJP victory next month. Please pray for the elections in India, that they be fair, transparent, and that the country would elect candidates who will govern with justice and integrity, and work for the welfare of all the people of India, and that equality and freedom of religion would be respected.
Pray that violence against Christians would not be tolerated under the new government.
Source: persecution.org (ICC)