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Understanding: Increased tensions between Hindus and Christians; Part 3

Religious Intolerance in India?

In April of this year, “Sanskrit Magazine”, a publication for Hindus, condemned U.S., Christians, the Catholic Church, mainstream media, Canada, Europe, and others for having a “mischievous agenda” of perpetuating a “myth of Christian persecution in India”.

Photo: Sanskrit Magazine website
Photo: Sanskrit Magazine website

Yet, there are countless news reports and personal testimonies that suggest that persecution and religious tolerance aimed at all persons of non-Hindu religions in India is not a “myth”.  

In fact, many national leaders, such as Rajeshwar Singh, are strong supporters of re-converting India’s non-Hindu’s and cleansing India of all Christians and Muslims by the year 2021.

In December 2014, Prime Minister Modi met with Singh to “express his annoyance of ”  Singh’s religious cleansing policies, after which Singh took a leave of absence.  However, just a few months later, Singh has returned to his job, and even offered a promotion.

FP Politics writes:

. . . the new posting will also mean that he won’t directly be involved with the controversial ‘ghar wapsi’ [religious cleansing] schemes directly and won’t be publicly required to make his views on conversion known. So no more declaration of last days of Christianity and Islam in the country, though he can continue to work towards that goal.

Backtrack a couple of months . . .

On February 5, 2015, President Obama spoke at the annual National Prayer Breakfast.

The president was criticized by Hindus, Indian officials and news sources for his comments, specifically the ones that were directed towards India.  This is the full quote from the president’s speech:

And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.  In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.  Michelle and I returned from India — an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity — but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs — acts of intolerance that would have shocked Gandhiji, the person who helped to liberate that nation.

The president did, in fact, criticize India for practicing religious intolerance; he also did not isolate India, calling for religious tolerance the world over throughout the entire speech.

So this is not unique to one group or one religion.  There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. – President Obama; National Prayer Breakfast speech, 2015

Then, a couple of weeks later . . .

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned recent attacks on Christian churches in India.

However, “The Times of India” quotes a leading Hindu leader and member of the Hindu nationalist organization VHP, Surendra Jain as saying:

“The Prime Minister did not say ‘minorities’ nor did he mention any particular religion. The news traders are misreading his message to suit their agenda. When he has not taken any names, you have to see in what circumstances he has made the statements. The supposed attacks on churches have been going on for a while now but the PM never came out and spoke. He spoke only after the Delhi Police pointed out that 206 temples were attacked. He spoke on a day a temple was vandalized in the US.” . . .

Jain denied that Modi’s message was in any way an assurance to the minorities that their interests would be protected. He also said since it was not directed towards Hindu groups, VHP’s programmes of ‘ghar wapasi’ and protests against ‘love jihad’ would continue.

“The PM’s message was aimed at those who attack other religions. It’s the Christian missionaries which publish literature insulting Hindu deities, run hate campaigns and insult Hinduism in general. This way they insult the nation. That is why Modi did not say these things addressing a congregation of Hindus. This means he has indicated to the Christian community that you should start respecting the Hindu religion.”

On one hand, it appears as Prime Minister Modi is condemning religious intolerance in India.  However, top Hindu leaders in support of religious cleansing and re-conversion, are given authority and license to carry out their Hindu-nationalist plans.

This is how Hindu-nationalists in India are working towards a Hindu-only nation: 

  •  “The Decccan Herald” reported on May 3, 2015 that three Christian men were arrested and charged with proselytizing to Hindu children.
  • “India Today” (Apr. 20, 2015) stated that seven Muslims were also arrested for proselytizing to Hindus, but later released.
  • The Washington Post” (Dec. 18, 2015) ran this story: “Christian enclave in India fears violence as Hindus press for conversions”.
  •  “The Times of India” is just one news source of many that reported the March gang-rape of a 71-year-old nun in India.  This particular article offers perspective and insight into the situation.

Next time: Listening to the stories of Christians in India & what’s fueling religious intolerance

Until then, may God be with you and bless you!

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