Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Christians of India

Open for business. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the world's largest industrial technology fair, the Hannover Messe, in Hanover, Germany, earlier this month.  He has been on something of a world tour, trying to drum up industrial investment in job-hungry India.

Today Nahendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, is in Canada to meet with the Prime Minister and speak to a large gathering of Indo-Canadians. The relationship between Canada and India is strong and trade with a nation whose population equals 30 Canadas is hugely beneficial. Canada supported Modi long before he was elected PM and he is a bright man determined to do everything necessary to make India flourish.

Unfortunately Prime Minister Modi has a suspect record when it comes to religious freedom, despite what he says now. Concerns were raised during the election campaign and there is evidence that Modi's words and actions don't mesh even in these first few months of his government. The CBC's Nahlah Ayed offers these observations: 

For example, in New Delhi, the city Modi now calls home, several churches have been vandalized or burnt since December. In the past month alone, an elderly Catholic nun was gang-raped, and a day later, a church still under construction was demolished.
A Hindu nun holds a poster in solidarity with the Christian nun who was raped
during an armed assault on a convent school in March as protests for the better protection
 of women and religious minorities erupted across the country. (Reuters)

Members of India's Christian community say these attacks bear the hallmarks of a sustained assault on a minority religion. They feel vulnerable and ask what will Modi do to protect them, beyond a statement expressing concern, which came far later than they had expected or hoped.

There have also been concerns raised about the increasing reports of so-called reconversions of Christians and Muslims to Hinduism in ceremonies allegedly organized by Hindu nationalist groups — who believe those people should not have been converted into Islam or Christianity in the first place.Modi has advocated an India where all religions are permitted to flourish. But, as many Indians are asking, what is he doing to reign in the extremists.

Christians here in Canada need to watch and pray in solidarity with our Indian brothers and sisters in Christ. At times the federal governments headed by different parties have turned a blind eye to human rights injustices in China, including persecution of Christians. We don't want history to repeat itself as we chase economic opportunities in India.


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