Christian delegation prompts action on violence in India
Five representatives from the United Christian Forum (UCF) met with the chairman of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) in New Delhi on the 21st of September. The main agenda of this meeting was to address concerns regarding the persecution of Christians.
The UCF provided a statement in which they disclosed the reason for the gathering: “In the meeting, NCM heard us fully and assured us to take action. Also, they have asked us to submit more details of the issues we have raised in the letter to the prime minister after his Easter Sunday visit to the Sacred Heart Cathedral in New Delhi on April 9, which they hope to conduct a study within a month and put up a report to him”.
The UCF is one of the groups that observe incidents of violence against Christians in India. According to their findings, after passing anti-conversion laws in 11 out of India’s 28 states – most of which are governed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) -the number of attacks against Christians have soared.
Dr John Dayal, the spokesman of the UCF and of the All India Catholic Union, said: “The PM’s response, in accordance with his usual style, originates from the lowest level of the official structure, specifically within the recently reorganised minority affairs ministry. This restructuring has resulted in the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) operating without Christian representation, with a Buddhist member now overseeing Christian affairs. It is worth noting that the NCM lacks its own investigating agency. The chair has proposed that Christians take the initial steps, after which the police will conduct further investigations. However, the plan doesn’t clarify how data regarding communal violence will be gathered, especially in cases where government agencies may not maintain such records.”
Dr Dayal, who is a veteran human rights activist, deduced: “Overall, it’s good that there’s an ongoing conversation about these issues, although it’s understandable if one doesn’t set their hopes very high given these circumstances”.
Iqbal Singh Lalpura, the chairman of the NCM, told the delegation that the “minority Commission will work together in addressing cases of persecution of citizens from the Christian faith.” He also asked for “a joint team to tour some of the areas where such communal issues are regularly occurring.”