India’s Christians Concerned as Attacks on Religious Minorities Grow

Women raise their hands and voices during a rally held in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, after a nun was raped in Kolkata, West Bengal. Religion News Service photo by Arielle Dreher
Women raise their hands and voices during a rally held in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, after a nun was raped in Kolkata, West Bengal. Religion News Service photo by Arielle Dreher

Each day, children on their way to Mount Carmel School pass through gates under the watch of armed security guards, and now city police officers who stop there on government orders after a nearby Catholic convent and school were broken into.

The vandals stole money, tampered with security cameras and ransacked the principal’s office on Feb. 13.

The crime itself was relatively minor, but it rippled through other Christian schools. The attack was the sixth this year in an ongoing series targeting Christian communities and schools across India.

It was also the turning point for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the growing safety concerns of India’s minority Christian community. Modi immediately asked the Delhi police commissioner to investigate the attacks, and he addressed a Christian community, saying, “Government will not allow any religious group, belonging to the majority or the minority, to incite hatred against others overtly or covertly. Mine will be a government that gives equal respect to all religions.”

But even after Modi’s address, the attacks continued. In March, an elderly nun was raped in Kolkata, West Bengal, and a Christian school in West Bengal received anonymous threats, according to a Times of India report. In April, St. Mary’s Church in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, was vandalized, setting off a wave of protests.

Earlier this month, the annual report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom cited an “increase of harassment and violence” among India’s Christian community.

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SOURCE: Religion News Service
Arielle Dreher

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