Allow religion to flourish without interference: NBCC

DIMAPUR, MAY 19 (MExN): The Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) on Friday expressed alarm over the recent attacks on Christians in India which it stated has considerably increased since 2011.


In a press statement, the NBCC wondered why such attacks are occurring when Christians constitute less than 3% of the country’s population. Apart from three Christian majority states in the North East -Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya only two other states such as Kerala and Goa have significant percentage of Christians.


India is home to diverse religions and the secular credential of any party can “only be trusted if it remains a purely political party and not motivated by any religious fundamentalists,” the NBCC has reminded.


“We celebrate India’s diversities and the provisions enshrined in the Constitution for the members of these diverse groups the privilege to enjoy their basic civil and political rights, and freedom to pursue their beliefs. But unfortunately, that is not always the case,” it said.


The NBCC pointed out that Christians in states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are subjected to severe and complicated rules related to conversion and baptism as well as intimidation while formalizing “their identity as Christians by official registrations.”


Consequently, Christians or socio-culture minority are “feeling insecure” in a democratic and secular country with the rise of “suppression of faith and practice that are not in line with the mainline practices,” it lamented.


Citing the instances as Good Governance Day on December 25, Easter Sunday as India Digital Day, Uniform Civil Code, mass yoga or “Surya Namaskar, Cow Vigilante, hate speeches and propaganda, the NBCC said that Christians as well as other religious minorities are expressing resentment across the country over such acts.


“Whatever reason has been given, the church has claimed that it is pure harassment and violated the fundamental religious freedom,” NBCC asserted. It said communal riots, hate speeches and propaganda have become alarmingly high and aimed at minorities leaving them to be defenseless even in the eyes the law.


Welcomes Nagaland
BJP unit resolution
Meanwhile lauding the recent Nagaland BJP unit resolution to “safeguard the Christian faith” as one of its kind for a political party to courageously come out in defense of Christians, NBCC however said “their (BJP) disappointment expressed over the church in defending her own faith stands contrary.”


“The secular credential of the party can only be trusted if it remains a purely political party and not motivated by any religious fundamentalists,” it pointed out.


Towards this, NBCC said the “stand of the church to defend her faith should not be construed as the church been against any political party, but said that it will stand to defend the Christian faith from any political party which “threatens the church with its political agenda.”


The church, NBCC said, being responsible for the “well-being and safety” of its members is only examining and educating its members of the plans and policies of any political party.


NBCC further said that it is not against any developmental program of the government. “Our only message is to allow any religion to flourish peacefully without any interference and influence by the majority, maintaining the secular flavor as is guaranteed by the constitution.”


The NBCC also acknowledged the Nagaland Chief Minister for writing a “strong resentment” letter over the Indian Digital Day which was set to be observed on Easter Sunday and for assuring the church in Nagaland that such will not be observed in Nagaland on such a day which is considered by the Christians as a sacred day.