Archbishop of Goa, Filipe Neri Ferrão, in his annual letter has warned that the Constitution of India and the human rights it is meant to guard, are in danger, as most Christians now live in fear and insecurity.
In his ten-page letter, Archbishop Ferrão wrote, “In recent times, we see a new trend emerging in our country, which demands uniformity in what and how we eat, dress, live and even worship: a kind of mono-culturalism.”
The archbishop also called on Christians in Goa (who account for over 25 percent of the state’s 1.5 million population) to prepare for the 2019 general elections, urging them to understand the constitution better.
He added that religious and ethnic minorities fear for their safety, general respect for law is declining, Indian human rights in general appear to be under attack, and democracy itself seems imperilled. He asked that Christian voters work to protect their freedoms of speech and religious choice as they support secularism in India.
Other Christian leaders and human rights activists have also expressed serious concerns over India’s growing religious intolerance.
Archbishop of Delhi, Anil Couto, called Christians to a prayer campaign in preparation for the elections, encouraging them to fast and pray each Friday by “forgoing at least one meal and offering our penance and all our sacrifices for our spiritual renewal and that of our nation.”
Since the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, violence against Christians has increased noticeably. Many BJP support groups are extremists who seek to make India a Hindu-only state and correspondingly denounce everyone else as unpatriotic.
Lawyer Tehmina Arora of human rights group, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), reported that attacks on Christians were up 20 percent in 2017 and Christians felt helpless in their suffering, saying, “When you go to police, they hardly cooperate and often refuse to register complaints. There is a growing culture of impunity. We could file only 25 criminal cases, as against the 240+ incidents reported in the year.”
A scholar of India’s religious and linguistic diversity, Professor Ganesh Narayan Devy, confirmed the Christians’ situation and called on political delegates to uphold India’s Constitution and fundamental human rights, saying that a climate of fear has gripped India: “We are living at a time when you are questioned about the food you eat, about the god you worship and branded as anti-national for expressing a different view [contrary to Hindu nationalism].”
HOME GROUP PRAYER
“I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears,”Psalm 34:4 KJV.
We come before you in the name of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, united in prayer for your land of India and for all your children there. For we know, LORD, how you love that land and each one of its almost 1.35 billion souls.
LORD, the psalmist wrote in your Word that he sought you, and you heard his word, and you delivered him from all his fears.
So we seek you now also, LORD, that you will hear us and deliver your Christian children in India from the fears and ongoing persecution under which they presently live. But not just them, LORD, but all who are being unjustly treated.
We also lift up to you, LORD, the leaders of India and all of those in authority over the land, that they may come to know you, and come to align themselves with your will and your character, such that they, and all in India, may come to lead quiet and peaceable lives in all godliness and reverence.
Oh LORD, let Your Sovereign Will be done in India. May it glorify and honour you throughout the land.
In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. Amen!
Materials used by kind permission of the original author.