ASIA/INDIA - An open letter to Christian leaders: "You cannot keep silent in the face of the spread of Hindu extremism"

Monday, 11 September 2017 hinduism   extremism   violence   religious minorities   ethnic minorities  

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - "We, as Indian Christians, are concerned about the change that we see in our country that, from a pluralist democracy, is almost turning into a sort of reign dominated by a Hindu ideology. There is a systematic design to undermine the democratic Constitution. Institutions often seem to back up radical groups. Those who are victims become accused, trials are controlled and a narration based on their own religious identity prevails. The media seem silent, self-censored, forced by the state, or driven by business interests. There is an erosion of principles such as freedom and equality in the country, while a new coercive culture, is destroying society", says an open letter sent to Agenzia Fides addressed to the leaders of the Churches and other Christian leaders, signed by 101 well-known Christian activists and intellectuals, including educators, activists, lawyers, journalists, theologians, philosophers, academics, Pastors.
The spontaneous emergence of the public #NotInMyName movement in many cities shows "the common indian feeling against the ideology of hatred" and invites everyone to remain silent, says the text, while society is still shocked by the recent murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, known critical voice against Hindu nationalist policies.
The letter highlights "the dual track of the government": on the one hand, it is said to be at the forefront of the global challenge of international terrorism, but then "minimizes the impact of those nationalist and violent movements that mainly attack the weak and marginalized. The victims, in fact, are mainly dalit, tribal and religious minorities".
The number of violent acts against Christians alone in the last three years (2014-2016) - notes the text - is about 600, while "boycott and social discrimination affect the right to life, food and livelihood". The National Crime Records Bureau documented 47,064 acts of violence against dalits in 2014, while violence against Muslims is also reaching an alarming peak.
The letter notes with concern that "hatred is also spread by MPs and sometimes by government ministers, who represent the institutional framework of this violence". "And inevitably, perhaps deliberately, these issues distract attention from the real problems of people and the economic policies that negatively affect workers, farmers and young people". According to the authors of the letter, "the current policy is against any fundamental human and constitutional principle of equality and dignity and does not preserve the common good".
"The Christian community has a praiseworthy legacy of prophetic tradition, the defense of justice, human rights, the oppressed and the marginalized, and is therefore called upon to stand openly in support of the truth, to protest against violations of these principles. "
"Christians are the salt of the earth ... or have they become lukewarm?", says the text. "Churches must act before it is too late. As citizens and as Christians, it is time to stand beside the victims to be the voice of the poor and marginalized; it is time to collaborate with civil society to spread the truth; it is time to take initiatives to prevent further erosion of our human and constitutional values. That is why we humbly invite all Christian leaders and Church leaders to reflect and guide the Christian community in India on the path of truth, love, and justice", concludes the letter. (PN-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 11/9/2017)