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Sam Brownback, formerly ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, said America needs to stand with India’s persecuted Christians.
In a posting at Real Clear Wire, Brownback, who was the 46th governor of Kansas, wrote, “Approximately 1,000 Christians belonging to Adivasi tribal communities from the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh have fled their homes following a spate of violent attacks.”
He explained from December 9-18, “Attacks in Chhattisgarh occurred in villages across the region. Horrifying footage shows scenes of violent chaos. Street mobs hacked at statues of Jesus and Mary, leaving churches decimated in their wake. They targeted anyone suspected of being a Christian and beat them with sticks, resulting in over 20 people being hospitalized with severe injuries. Strikingly, a local political leader was one of five arrested for the assault and rioting.”
He confirmed fact-finders from the Center for Study of Society and Secularism and the All India People’s Forum released a report explaining “the atrocities that transpired.”
“The report finds that Christians were asked to denounce their faith and convert to Hinduism or face brutal consequences. It offers evidence that Adivasi Christians are the targets of a coordinated campaign. Human rights defenders point the finger at the state for ‘weaponizing laws’ against Christians,” he explained.
“Chhattisgarh has an anti-conversion law, penalizing conversion by ‘force or allurement’ with up to three years of jail time. Eleven Indian states have in place either anti-conversion laws or guidelines governing religious conversions. Laws of this kind are used to suppress religious minorities while turning a blind eye to radical activities,” he wrote.
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He warned that religious minorities in India are under threat.
“Chhattisgarh ranks as the second most dangerous region for India’s Christians. Despite recent escalation, international attention has been scant, compounding local inaction. As one human rights defender noted, ‘it is the incapacity of the Congress [Indian National Congress party] government [the ruling party in the state] that is unable to save the Adivasi Christians from the continuous attacks,’” Brownback said.
He said those displaced Christians are in deplorable conditions right now, as they cannot return home.
According to Suman Mandavi and Outlook India, “at least 59 incidents happened and except 4 incidents, not a single case has been lodged.” Police ignore complaints, standing by and watching as Christians are attacked. In response, nearly a thousand people have camped outside local administrative offices in protest. On February 19, over 15,000 Christians from 100 churches and organizations gathered at Jantar Mantar to protest the unanswered violence towards Christians throughout India,” he wrote.
“Their cry is simple – the authorities must act. Their lives depend on it.”
He said, “The local, state, and national governments in India need to make it abundantly clear that they will not tolerate these attacks. Otherwise, perpetrators and victims alike will discern a silent signal of support for the attacks, leading to more fear and violence.”
He insisted, “The U.S. must use every diplomatic tool at its disposal to maintain pressure on all South Asian governments to protect their religious minorities.”
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.