U.S. Congress members are calling on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold his party accountable and oppose violent attacks on Christians and other minorities.
International Christian Concern shared on Friday with The Christian Post a previously unreleased copy of a bipartisan congressional letter sent to Modi, which pleads for the protection of the persecuted minorities.
“Our hope is to apply significant pressure on Prime Minister Modi regarding the persecution of Christians and religious minorities in India. We hope that this letter, alongside other efforts, will pressure the Indian government to move beyond the recognition of the fact that persecution of religious minorities in India exists, and take concrete steps to end the persecution of religious minorities,” ICC Advocacy Director Matias Perttula told CP.
“Prime Minister Modi must publicly condemn the attacks on religious minorities and implement proper legal procedures to hold the perpetrators of these crimes accountable. The bottom line is that India must take tangible steps to deal with the issue at hand.”
Christians are an increasing but heavily targeted minority group in India. Many attacks were reported this year, most often by Hindu hardliners in rural villages who have destroyed churches and assaulted entire groups of believers.
Just last week, a 9-year-old girl from a family in Punjab state that had recently converted to Christianity was gang-raped and murdered.
ICC worked with Congress members to author the letter, which is dated July 31. It was led by Congressman Dennis Ross (R-Florida) in the House of Representative and Senator James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) in the Senate.
The letter talks of India’s strong partnership with the U.S., and notes that back in February, Modi’s own government admitted that there has been an increase in religiously motivated violence against religious minorities, which goes against India’s Constitution.
“Our concern centers on the lack of justice and protections for religious minorities, and the impunity many perpetrators currently enjoy,” states the letter.
“Those afflicted by violent assaults and other forms of harassment should be provided with equal treatment by law enforcement officers, and perpetrators of these crimes need to be held accountable for their actions. Only then can meaningful progress be made in guaranteeing freedom of religion and belief.”
The letter recalls several of Modi’s political visits to the U.S., including an address he made to Congress on June 8, 2016, where he said:
“The idea that all citizens are created equal is a central pillar of the American Constitution. Our founding fathers too shared the same belief and sought individual liberty for every citizen of India.”
Christians, Sikhs, and Muslims, who combined make up 20 percent of the nation’s population, continue being deliberately attacked, U.S. lawmakers state in the letter.
They specifically express concern over the anti-forced conversion laws in India, arguing that such laws are often exploited in order to falsely accuse religious minorities.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov