A STATEMENT

Though Christians might be the majority community in the states of the North East India region, i.e. Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland but numerically, there are more Christians in Andrah Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. While in other states of the Indian Union, they are microscopic.

What is happening to Christians in other parts of India should be a cause of grave concern for followers of Jesus Christ living in the mentioned states and as a 1.4 million baptised member church, the Council of Baptist Churches in North East India (CBCNEI) shares the pain and agony that our brethren and fellow believers face and undergo every moment of their life as they try to live out the teachings of Jesus Christ and spent time with him in meditation and worship.

As per the annual report of the evangelical fellowship of India (efi) for the year 2017 and entitled Hate and Targeted Violence against Christian in India, “The year 2017 has been one of the most traumatic for the Christians community in India as the mass targeted violence of the Khandamal program in 2007 and 2008. The Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFIRLC) documented at least 351cases of violence in 2017, by no means an exhaustive compilation as it is based on voluntary reporting and civil society investigations. Most cases go unreported either because of the victim is mandatory forts information report “.

While releasing the report, Rev. Vijayesh Lal, General Secretary, EFI said, “it is distressing to see even private worship being attacked by a Hindu right-wing activist violating the privacy ad sanctity of an individual or a family and trampling upon their constitutional rights. The instances of attacks on churches on Sundays and other important days of worship such as Palm Sunday, good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas have increased. It is noted with much sadness that the law enforcement and in homes…”

Alas! Government turn a blind eye all these atrocities and instead, use public money to denounce Christianity in the pen while the centre shrugs off its responsibility by satisfying that such activities are law and order issues and fall within the gambit of state governments.

Recently, the XXII General body Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India(CBCI) which met in Bengaluru during 2-8 Feb.2018, under the section, understanding Authentic Nationalism and constitutional Secularism, stated,”Any attempt to promote nationalism based on any one particular culture or region is a dangerous position. It may lead to uniformity but never too genuine unity. Such misconceived efforts can only lead our nation on the path of self-annihilation. Mono-culturalism has never been and can never be the right answer to the quest for peace., progress and development, especially in a country like ours that has a rich diversity of culture, language, region and religion…authentic nationalism resects the humans dignity of every citizen, regardless  of one’s economic status, culture, religion, region or language.”

In the light of enforcement, how will we respond appropriately is the question? How will we express our solidarity with the unfortunate victim of majoritarian and hate? We have to act responsibly as indicated in the Aims and Objectives of NUCF. That we recommend to the government of India to take urgent and effective measures to restore the rule of law and curb the targeted and communal violence.  The guilty must be traced and action under the law should be taken.  Police officers must be held accountable for communal crimes in their jurisdictions and to enact a suitable law to prevent communal and targeted violence.

It may be mentioned that in recent years, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India(CBCI), National Council of Churches in India(NCCI) and the Evangelical Fellowship of India Council of Churches (EFICC) have been brought together to concretise Christian solidarity by being one and united through the formation of the national united Christians forum(NUCF) and the Presbyterian church of India (PCI) as a responsible and active member of the NCCI, is very much part of this wider pan India ecumenical body, viz. the NUCF.

It may be worth reminding that few of the aims and objectives of NUCF are

  • To dispel the prejudices created against the Christians and other minority communities and to actively engage in the promotion of better relationships between the communities.
  • To encourage and actively promote the prophetic engagement of the church in the socio-political economic life of the nation.
  • To respond to specific instances of atrocities against the Christian community and the other minority communities
  • To educate the community towards the various provisions safeguarding their rights and privileges and opportunities designed for their development
  • To safeguard and promote human rights and in particular, the rights of people belonging to scheduled caste , scheduled tribes and backward classes, minority communities children women the poor and the marginalise.
  • To make meaningful interventions in areas of policy making/ option shaping and to make appropriate representations before the government and the other bodies on issues as mentioned above.

Taking part in the upcoming periodical election to parliament, it is one very important participation in to representative democracy for we are sending people to make laws and policies on our behalf and to ensure that development, progress, economic, and social security, and equitable justice are the portions of all, irrespective of gender, caste, region, culture, ethnicity and region.

As India goes to the month of April and May, 2019 we would like to further  remind that voters do not fall into being purchased for votes through clandestine and covert monetary distribution and do not allow to be intimated, coerced or threatened to vote for a particular candidate and or political party. It is our privilege and responsibility to cast our vote without fear, without intimidation, and without enticement. God help and guide us all.

Sd-
Solomon Rongpi
General Secretary