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Saturday, 2 April 2016

Challenging times for Christians in South Asia

The National Council of Churches in India strongly condemns the acts of violence perpetrated on Christians and similar religious minorities in the South Asian region.

We deeply regret that fanatic fascist religious forces are taking the law in their hands and determining who should live in the regions and who should be subjugated and even exterminated. 

The governments of the countries in the region feign surprise and shock at the incidence of such attacks on minorities. Loud but hollow speeches are made that terrorists will not be spared. The opposition parties blame their respective governments for such occurrences and tend to get political mileage for themselves rather than addressing the problem. 

The army and the police are to stand for secular values and principles as well as ensure justice and protection for the vulnerable. However even soldiers and police personnel belong to different religious communities. They could also be influenced by different communal ideologies. They may even be forced to submit to the diktats of their commanding officers. They may also be inadequately equipped to face the the onslaught of communal militant forces.

In the globalized world of our times even religion is commercialized and used by economic, political and religious leaders for their own selfish ends. Human beings do not seem to have any value in the context of the allurement of power and pleasure. Hence large numbers of people are killed; their deaths are considered as being unavoidable for the sake of the attractive end in view. Even religious killing and martyrdom is glorified.

Unless the secular minded people of the lands speak out, this carnage will continue! 
Unless the religious leaders emphasize the important of mutual love and community togetherness, this phenomenon of communal hatred will continue to breed and spread! 
Unless communities resolve that they will not allow hate-mongers to infiltrate their neighborhoods, this evil will not be stopped! 

Having just celebrated Good Friday and Easter, let us as Christians prayerfully and affirmatively stand for what is 'responsible' and 'liberating' in South Asia.

We are well aware that the scourge of religious extremism is also rampant in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. May we be inspired and empowered by the crucified-resurrected Jesus Christ to be channels of justice and peace!

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad,
General Secretary, NCCI