MUMBAI, India – A group of former civil servants in India has written Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the “increasing incidents of outright discrimination against Christians,” urging him to reassure the community that it will be treated equally.

The open letter was signed by 93 former civil servants from the Constitutional Conduct Group.

“The principal allegation against Christians is one of forcible conversions, and because of this accusation, they have been subjected to attacks — verbal, physical, and psychological, against both their persons and against their institutions,” the retired bureaucrats said in the letter.

“Christians constitute but 2.3 per cent of India’s population, and this percentage has remained more or less the same since the census of 1951,” they continue. ‘Yet, in the minds of some, this minuscule number poses a threat to the 80 per cent of the population that is Hindu!”

The letter also brought of the case of the late Father Stan Swamy, who was arrested under terrorism charges “for no fault of his except that he was closely working with the Adivasis, Dalits and other underprivileged people of Jharkhand.” He died of COVID-19 while in custody. The signatories said he “was virtually driven to his death by no less than the State.”

The letter notes that attacks against Christians have happened primarily in the Indian states of Chhattisgarh, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.

According to the United Christian Forum, the attacks on Christians increased from 279 in 2020 to 505 in 2021 and to 511 in 2022.

“Churches and homes of tribal and Dalit Christians have been destroyed, graveyards vandalized, educational and health institutions have been attacked and prayer gatherings have been terrorized,” the letter points out.

“As Prime Minister of our country, and all of its people including Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities, and as a leading member of the BJP [the Hindu nationalist ruling party], we ask you to speak out against these outrageous acts, and to ensure that the police and other officials prevent such incidents from recurring,” the letter said.