JUNE 3, 2016, WASHINGTON DC. Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations reiterates our strong support for the partnership that exists today between India and the United States. India and the United States have invested in each other so much so that the two nations could not afford to be in opposite sides. Governments come and go, Prime Ministers come and go but the people of these two nations must only come together for the greater good.
At the same time we also have grave concerns about the increasing intolerance and violence India's Christian communities face from the rank and file of Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which happens to be in power in India.
We fully endorse President Obama’s speech in New Delhi during his last visit. The concerns he raised in that speech are very important for the future of US-India relationships. India can not go down the path of self-disintegration and expect the world to ignore it.
While President Obama’s comments have raised the level of attention paid to this issue globally, there are several cases of Mr. Modi’s government officials continuing to protect local groups loyal to him from prosecution. The general socio-political environment created by Mr. Modi and his party has only caused greater damage to the Union of India.
We urge Mr. Modi to take immediate steps to ensure that the fundamental rights of religious minorities are protected and that the perpetrators of violence--regardless of whether their political affiliation, are held responsible.
Mr. Modi’s speeches and public comments during his visits to other countries over the past year or more do not reflect the realities on the ground for Christian and other religious minorities. We consider such statements to be fundamentally misleading if not devious.
Legislative assault on religious minorities and their institutions are in the rise nationally and especially in states ruled by Mr. Modi’s BJP party. On April 19 this year, the BJP government of Madhya Pradesh, a state ruled by Mr. Modi’s BJP party has recommended that all schools currently registered as minority-run institutions should be “reassessed”. Church leaders have warned that it is a direct threat to the church and its place in the society.
In the first 6 months of Mr. Modi assuming the office, over 8 churches were attacked by BJP affiliates. This does not include over 800 hate speeches and violence reported in the first year of Mr. Modi’s government.
In February 2014 Mr. Modi said that his government would ''ensure that there is complete freedom of faith ...and would not allow any religious group, belonging to the majority or the minority, to incite hatred against each other." He also repeats the same sentiment whenever he is confronted by other world leaders on foreign soils. But Mr. Modi has kept silent whenever such acts of violence are committed by his party supporters. His silence and lack of action against the perpetrators of violence only lead us to wonder if Mr. Modi is “actively complicit” in these acts of violence under his watch.
Mr. Modi’s upcoming visit to Washington next week would be a good opportunity to highlight his actual record while in the office and point out to the duplicity of his government.
June 8, 2016, Washington DC.(Updated 6/9/2016@ 12 noon) The Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA) held a Prayer Vigil across the US Capitol where Mr. Modi was addressing the Joint Session of the US Congress.
FIACONA supports US-India cooperation. But that cooperation should be truthful, honest and transparent. Any image projected contrary to the truth through the media would only have a short lifespan. Read the complete statement
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