© Fides

Advent Marked by Intolerance Towards Religious Minorities in India

Christian Communities Call for Freedom of Worship and Religion

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Several episodes of religious intolerance have marked the period of Advent and preparation for Christmas in India, reported Fides News Agency. While the nation is shaken by the protest for the adoption of the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, which discriminates against the granting of the right of citizenship, denying it to Muslim refugees, Christian communities also denounce acts and episodes that violate the freedom of worship and religious practice, in different states of the Federation.

A Christmas carols meeting was abruptly interrupted on December 17 in Permuapalayam, Tamil Nadu, by five men who attacked the people present, including a 17-year-old boy. Protestant Pastor Joshua, who leads a local community, had gathered some faithful to celebrate Advent in their home when the aggression of the militants against the celebration of Christmas occurred. And when, the day after the episode, Christians went to the police to file a complaint, they were rejected.

«Episodes of intolerance towards the Christian faith have been increasing in Tamil Nadu in recent years», writes in a note sent to Fides, the NGO Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), which monitors the situation of religious minorities in India.

Nehemiah Christie, a local human rights activist, argues: «The level of intolerance we are witnessing in this country today is unprecedented. Christians cannot celebrate the holidays for fear of violence. In principle, current political leadership should be held accountable because it promotes false narrative on religious minorities. Today, the poison that has penetrated at a basic level is widespread. The police are also complicit and do not take complaints seriously. In many cases, suffering remains unheard, violence remains unpunished and people continue to live in fear».

According to CSW, «it is deeply worrying to see that religious holidays are distorted by those who want to plant seeds of contention and discord in India. Respecting the right to practice one’s religion is fundamental. We urge the authorities to take appropriate measures against these behaviors and to promote a culture of mutual respect».

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