As the Christmas season wraps the world in a spirit of joy, love, and hope, Christians in India reflect on their profound contributions to the nation while facing continuous challenges and attacks under the ruling regime.
Amidst the festivities, it’s evident that the Christian community has played a significant role in India’s history. From the freedom struggle to various sectors of public life, their contributions in education, healthcare, social welfare, and politics have been invaluable. Their commitment to serving the marginalized, irrespective of caste and creed, has been widely acknowledged and appreciated.
However, since 2014, Christians in India have encountered relentless attacks and discrimination. Places of worship have been vandalized, individuals have been unlawfully arrested, and anti-conversion laws are being exploited, violating the fundamental rights of practicing one’s religion. This persecution has been particularly pronounced in BJP-ruled states, with incidents escalating in Manipur since May 3rd, 2023, seemingly condoned by authorities.
In a paradoxical turn, amidst these ongoing struggles, the Prime Minister hosted a Christmas morning celebration for a select group of around 100 Christian representatives. This gesture, while seemingly inclusive, has sparked controversy and criticism. Many question the sincerity behind the event when there has been no condemnation of the attacks against Christians under the current leadership.
The attendees, in expressing gratitude and praise to the Prime Minister, have drawn severe criticism from within the community. Many feel that their acceptance of the invitation and their words of appreciation did not represent the sentiments of the larger Christian population in India. It’s perceived as a tacit approval of the government’s actions and a disregard for the plight of persecuted Christians.
Over 3,200 eminent citizens from the Christian community, including Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien, have endorsed a statement dissociating from a lunch hosted for the community representatives by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25, while flagging growing attacks and vilification from “members of the ruling regime” and the situation in Manipur.
This gathering was viewed as an opportunity for the representatives to express solidarity with the affected communities and to voice concerns about the escalating attacks. Their failure to do so has led to accusations of betraying the values espoused by the Gospel of Jesus and the Constitution of India. Their silence on the injustices faced by not only Christians but also various marginalized groups in the country has been deemed as a departure from the core principles of truth, justice, love, dignity, and peace.
The absence of a critical voice during the event was seen as a missed opportunity to highlight the pressing issues faced by the community and other marginalized sections of society. This silence was perceived as a betrayal of the values of justice, truth, love, and peace, which are central to the teachings of Jesus Christ and enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
“Those invited to the Christmas reception were a select group of Christians. While the invitation was from the Prime Minister, here was an opportunity for them to courteously decline the invite in the light of what has been happening to the Christians in Manipur and elsewhere. Hence their acceptance of this invite was not in our name!” the statement said.
In response to these developments, Christians across India, along with conscientious citizens, have pledged to protect and uphold the values of the Constitution. They aim to collaborate with and advocate for all those who suffer under what they perceive as an unjust, insincere, and authoritarian regime.
As India grapples with challenges across economic, educational, health, and social spheres, conscious and committed citizens have pledged to stand for justice and uphold the values enshrined in the Constitution. Their commitment is not only to protect and promote the Constitution but also to support all victims of an unjust and authoritarian regime.
In the midst of celebrations, the Christian community’s stance remains resolute—standing for justice, advocating for the oppressed, and striving for a nation that embodies inclusivity, justice, and equality for all its citizens.