People of India are free to practice and propagate religion of their choice as per Indian Constitution. However, rise of religious fundamentalism in the post- independence India has created a lot of tension among different faith communities.
Anti – Sikh Riot following the killing of Mrs. Indira Gandhi in 1984 subsequent to Operation Blue Star Death Toll: 3000
The hate campaign against the religious minorities was systematically organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party with the help of Vishya Hindu Parishad, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and other fundamental fascist organisations for political gain. Promotion of Hindutva (Hindu Nation Ideology) saw many religious conflicts in recent times.
Hate Crimes against Christians have occurred in several states such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Karnataka
Christian missionaries and Churches became targets of anger Australian Missionary Graham Staines and his two children were burnt alive in Orissa
Still Counting…. (violence 2008) Death confirmed: 57 Priests/pastors/nuns seriously injured: 10 Priests kidnapped: 2 Houses burnt/destroyed in 160 villages: 4300 Institutions/ schools destroyed: 7 Churches/Chapels: 101 Convents and hostels: 14 Residences of priests: 5 Dispensaries: 2 Vocational Training Centres: 3 Shops: 126 Vehicles burnt / destroyed: 43
Christian Response “My husband and our children have sacrificed their lives for the nation of India. India is my home” - Gladys Stains “I praise God that my father and my brothers are found worthy to die for Christ” - Esther Stains
Real Cause of Communal Conflict Economic Depravity, oppression, exploitation, discrimination and other forms of injustice Politicizing of Religion for personal gain
Response of the Church towards Religious Harmony Re-defining Evangelism Re-discovering Mission Engagements Understanding the people of other faiths and making bridges Acknowledging the positive values in other faith traditions
Inter-Faith Engagements Shift from dialogue to action Creation of Interfaith Forum to deal with Human Rights and other Social Issues Trusting leaders from other faith communities to lead
NETWORKING With Faith Based Secular Minded Groups and Organisations Media (Print and Electronic) National and Inter-national Church Partners
Today the Christians are not alone They are pilgrims with the people of other faiths