- May 12, 2021
Despite guidelines supporting Dalit Christians – from the class formerly known as “Untouchable” – not every Church leader is working in their defense, according to one Indian bishop.
Catholic officials in India have rejected accusations that a retreat center in the southern state of Karnataka is promoting the conversion of Hindus.
Christian leaders in India have been outraged by comments by a government minister comparing religious conversion to exchanging sex for favors.
A bishop in India has asked his diocese to fast and pray for a priest jailed after being accused of sending indecent messages to a school student.
A hostel was established in 1997 by the local Catholic diocese in central India to help members of the tribal community, who often have no access to education. It was recently closed by the local government and the students sent to a state-run facility. Bishop Anthony Chirayath of the Syro-Malabar Diocese of Sagar said the closing of the facility is just another case of persecution against the minuscule Christian minority.
Since the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took over India’s national government in 2014, religious minorities have complained about increased harassment. Incidents of abuse have gotten worse over the past few months, with various Christians being detained or arrested for “attempted conversion,” and places of worship being vandalized.
Participants in a meeting hosted by the bishops of India said recent communal violence “threatened not just secularism, but the Constitution and the democratic fabric of the country.” They called upon the people to “seek strength from India’s deep spiritual reservoirs to end the increasing environment of hate, violence and disregard for the rule of law.”
Indian archbishop Thomas Menamparampil says priests have been harassed, educators taking a group of children for picnic are being questioned, religious sisters taking a team of nurses for training are being held up by vigilantes who keep watch on every movement. The archbishop said more and more of the media is coming under control of what he called “cultural nationalists,” while the police have become more pliable to the will of Hindu militants, and it is feared the courts could follow.