For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 13 Apr 2014.
Release International reports that Christians in India are fearful that the country’s general elections, which began on Monday and are set to conclude on May 12, may lead to a rise in persecution of religious minorities.
Opinion polls suggest a victory for the opposition National Democratic Alliance, led by the Hindu nationalist party BJP. Its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat, was widely criticised for failing to prevent the massacre of more than 2,000 Muslims in the state in 2002.
Most incidents of mass anti-Christian violence have taken place in BJP-ruled states. The Rev Richard Howell, general secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India, says Modi’s rise has led to ‘fear and insecurity’ among Christians.
We can only hope and pray for peace – and that, whoever is elected in May, India’s new government will be committed to improving the country’s religious rights record and protecting people of all faiths.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.