by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - Christians in India are bracing themselves for more of the same after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected to another five-year term last Thursday, having garnered a 303-seat parliamentary majority—a 31-seat gain from his initial election in 2014.
Since Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) first came to power five years ago, Christians in India increasingly have become the object of a nationalistic hatred tinted with religious fervor under the auspices of “Hindutva” ideology, which envisions a homogenous and strictly Hindu India and seems to be sweeping the nation concomitant to Modi’s rise to power.
David Curry, whose organization Open Doors USA ranked India in the top ten of its World Watch List for global Christian persecution for the first time in 2019 after the world’s largest democracy jumped 18 places during the first 5 years of Modi’s tenure as head of state, called the democratic ratification of Modi’s broad-based agenda an “absolute tragedy” for Indian Christians.
“Since 2014, Hindu extremists have actively promoted hate toward its Christian and Muslim minorities which has led to a tragic escalation of violence,” he wrote on Open Doors’ website in the days following the wrap-up to Indian elections.
Besides a significant spike in religious violence reported by International Christian Concern between Modi’s first and second terms, with 325 instances of violence against Christians in 2018 compared with only 147 in 2014, a December 31st report on Indian religious persecution by the British All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief found that the Narendra Modi government had “remained largely inactive in proactively tackling spiraling religiously motivated violence.”
Christian rights organization ADF India bolstered this conclusion with its discovery that between January and October of last year, 219 instances of religiously motivated violence against Christians had been reported, but only 12 registered as a crime by local authorities.
More worrying still, however, were the deep ties the British parliament report unearthed between the publicly legitimate Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), an extremist militant Hindu organization that draws on legends of a gilded age of Hindu Supremacy--much like the Thul Society in Hitler’s Germany--that had been the main agent behind the demolition of a historic Mosque in 1992 claimed to be the ancient site of the Hindu god Ram’s temple.
“The leaders of nationalist groups have openly asked Hindus to produce more children and train them in weaponry to fight Muslims. This poison is spreading across the country and is leaving minorities in dire straits,” Adil Hussain, a human rights activist based in New Dehli, told UCA News in the lead-up to Indian elections.
Several anonymous Indian church leaders, interviewed by Open Doors USA in the wake of Modi’s victory, expressed optimism when asked how the church in India is girding itself to meet what will likely be an even larger tidal wave of religious violence following Modi’s consolidation of power.
“Most mature Christians are talking about God’s will,” one unnamed leader said, quoting Proverbs 16:33 and 21:1, and elaborating that Indian Christians “are not happy or sad” about the election results, but “instead prepare ourselves to face what God has prepared for us.”
“I don’t support any party and have peace believing Romans 8:28, which says ‘In all things God works for the good of those who love Him,’” another Indian believer told Open Doors.
All this despite speculations by some of the believers interviewed that the Modi government may alter laws and even amend the Indian constitution—long couched in an ideal of religious toleration—during his second tenure to allow for greater persecution of religious minorities.