- Aug 10, 2020
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.
For the third time in less than a month, a group of Christians have been detained while trying to travel by train in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. They have been accused of trying to convert Hindus. Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal has strongly condemned what he has termed “harassment” of a religious minority.
The leader of India’s ruling Hindu-nationalist party met with Christian leaders in Kerala, the state with the largest Hindu population, in an effort to broaden the appeal of the party beyond its Hindu base. However, the meeting was reported not to have discussed any national political issues concerning the country’s Christian minority.
Christians have been facing increasing discrimination in different parts of India. In the latest incidents, children were prevented from attending a summer camp, because their Christian parents had allegedly failed to convert to Christianity “legally.”
The roughly 30 million Christians in India, about half of whom are Catholic, have suffered various forms of intimidation and harassment, including physical violence, instigated by Hindu nationalist groups. There is a fear among Christians that the nation is losing its secular identity.
Revered Indian politician Jayalalithaa Jayaram once introduced a highly controversial anti-conversion law, probably to curry favor with the militant Hindu nationalist leadership of India, but when large groups of Dalits, Christians and Muslims came forward to oppose it, she backed down.