Indian PM’s assurance to minorities, bishops call for “concrete action”

2015-02-19 Vatican Radio

“Words to be followed by concrete action”,  with this remark the Catholic Bishops of India responded to a statement by India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who promised commitment on the part of his government to protect religious minorities.

According to Fr. Joseph  Chinnayyan, the spokesperson of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the words  of Modi are important .  “We welcome these words which are a message for all, including Hindu extremist groups. Now we are waiting to see action”, he said.

Modi took part in an event organised by the Syro-Malabarese Catholic Church to commemorate the canonisation last year of two Indians: his presence was welcomed as a good sign.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to uphold freedom of faith and crack down on inciters of sectarian tensions, his first unequivocal condemnation of religious violence after a series of attacks on Christian properties in Delhi.

The Prime Minister had been silent so far on religious tensions in India despite mounting criticism over growing intolerance of Hindu hardliners and the recent Delhi attacks that fuelled concerns religious minorities were being increasingly targeted after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power. Modi’s decision to speak at the conference was seen as an attempt to reassure the Christian community after the BJP’s defeat in the recent Delhi election.

India’s population of about 1.2 billion, is 75% Hindu, 13% Muslim and Christians (all confessions) amount to about 4.5% of the population; followed by other minority religious groups. (Fides)

 

(from Vatican Radio)