No lull for India's Christians from Hindu extremists despite Modi's reassurance

(Photo: REUTERS/Stephen Crowley / Pool)India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama watch India's Republic Day parade in the rain together from their review stand in New Delhi January 26, 2015.

Christian leaders recorded at least three incidents of violence against their community a week after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke out against religious intolerance in the country and pledged to act on the issue.

Some 20 individuals were arrested in Jaipur City for distributing Christian literature, while a group of vandals threw stones at a prayer hall in Karnataka state, destroying a glass pane of a Marian image.

Added to this, a cemetery at the Mar Thoma Church in Kerala state had been vandalized for two days, authorities said, reported on Feb. 26.

Modi's words seemed to have failed to strike fear into the hearts of Hindu fundamentalists, who are being accused of perpetrating the attacks, a Catholic Church official said.

"The strong message of Prime Minister Modi has either not reached those perpetuating [violence], or they don't take it seriously," said Father Joseph Chinnayyan, spokesperson of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, in an interview with

The continuing attacks run "contrary to the promise given by our prime minister," the priest continued.

Father Dominic Emmanuel, spokesperson of Delhi archdiocese, described the arrest of 20 Christians in Jaipur as a "clear violation" of their fundamental rights.

The Christians were distributing Christian literature while touring the city to do community service and hold religious meetings when they were stopped by a group of Hindus, who subsequently attacked them.

Police intervened in the scuffle, only to arrest and detain the Christians, according to local media reports

"Christian leadership is disillusioned. As this happens even after the prime minister's public assurances, we do not know where to go now," Emmanuel said.

"[These incidents show that] Modi is not totally in control. It is clear that there is a struggle for supremacy among Hindu cultural groups and their political wing, the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)."

Modi swept to power with his pro-Hindu BJP in 2014 and said in February, while addressing a Christian gathering that his administration would act firmly against those carrying out hate crimes in the name of religion.

"We cannot accept violence against any religion on any pretext, and I strongly condemn such violence. My government will act strongly in this regard," Modi said.

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