The Bishops’ Conference of India issued a statement this week denouncing the anti-Christian violence that has swept the country and calling on the government to take greater steps to ensure the safety of all believers.
The Fides news agency reports that the bishops of India said they were “moved and concerned by episodes of extreme violence against Christians” and they expressed their disagreement “with the apathy and indifference of the government both at the central level as well as in different states.”
“The ancient civilization of India is humiliated and its values such as Truth, Tolerance and Respect, so jealously guarded throughout the centuries, are trampled upon. The lay and democratic image of India is being seriously damaged in the eyes of the international community,” the statement claims.
The bishops also call for strong measures against terrorism, such as the immediate disarmament and detention of fundamentalist groups, compensation for Christian churches that have been damaged and the bringing to justice of those responsible for these actions.
The bishops also reaffirmed that constitutional rights should be enjoyed by all Indian citizens, including Christians, and they noted that the response of Christian communities to the violence has always been one of peace and forgiveness.
On Tuesday, the Bishops’ Conference also expressed its thanks for India’s Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh for assuring the European Union that the Indian government would protect Christians’ constitutional rights. Singh also described the violence against Christians as a “National Shame.”