With Prime Minister Narendra Modi starting his second term after leading his pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to victory in India’s recent election, complaints of violence are growing from the country’s persecuted Christians. Christians face a new wave of threats from Hindu groups after the BJP retained its grip on power in May.
“A second term for the BJP has for sure boosted the morale of Hindu groups, who keep threatening and intimidating minorities for being non-Hindus in India, which they think belongs to Hindus only,” Christian leader A.C. Michael, an official of the Indian chapter of the Alliance Defending Freedom, told ucanews.com.
The BJP won 303 seats in the 545-seat parliament in a landslide victory in the April-May national election following the completion of Modi’s first term that began in May 2014. On June 2, Hindu groups ordered pastors in Jagannath Nagar in Maharashtra not to hold any Sunday prayer services. The pastors were threatened with violence if they refused. A pastor and his wife were abducted by a mob of 150 Hindu activists who entered a church during Sunday prayers on June 2 in the Moradabad area of Uttar Pradesh. They were later released after the intervention of village elders but were warned not to hold prayers there again. “These are not isolated incidents but part of a great game by extremist Hindu groups to terrify minorities, particularly Christians, and render them as second-class citizens,” said Peter Sony, a social activist based in New Delhi. “They believe Christians and Muslims aren’t Indians but foreign settlers who should be shown their real place.” Concerns are growing that India’s secular constitution may be changed to establish a Hindu hegemony, Sony said.