ACLJ Sends Urgent Letter to Biden and Blinken: Ask India's PM Modi To Stop Violence Against Christians
India, one of the largest trading partners with the United States, has been ranked as the eleventh worst place for Christians due to religious and ethnic persecution. Violent Hindu mobs attack Christians, kill them, and destroy homes and churches with impunity.
Despite the severe persecution of Christians and other minorities in India, the United States continues to support India economically and militarily. In 2022–23 alone, the bilateral trade between the United States and India was worth $128 billion. In addition to the significant partnership in trade, the White House has invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a state dinner next week. Many human rights organizations are rightfully protesting against Mr. Modi’s visit due to his human rights record.
We have sent a critical letter to President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to raise the issue of Christian persecution in India with Prime Minister Modi.
Highlighting the most recent violent attacks that took place in May in which over 140 Christians were murdered, we have asked the President to discuss this dire situation with Mr. Modi. We have reminded the President about the recommendation made by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to put India on the list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) for engaging in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom. To date, the State Department has not implemented that recommendation.
The ACLJ’s letter also highlighted India’s anti-conversion laws, which are used to falsely accuse, intimidate, prosecute, and attack Christians for “forcibly” converting Hindus to Christianity. In order to stop pastors from sharing their faith, they are falsely accused of converting Hindus. In addition to false accusations, they are attacked by extremist Hindus. Instead of arresting the attackers, the police often arrest pastors under the anti-conversion laws.
Our request that President Biden discuss these issues with Prime Minister Modi is vitally important because Mr. Modi is in a key position to stop the violence but has so far done nothing. He is a longtime member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), an extremist Hindu nationalist organization that aims to change India from being a secular, religiously diverse country into one that acknowledges Hinduism as the only original religion of the land. Much of the violence against Christians is instigated by the RSS. Moreover, members of Mr. Modi’s political party (Bharatiya Janata Party) are also known to be complicit in violence against Christians and other minorities.
Because of our country’s partnership with India, it is not only reasonable and just but also a moral responsibility for President Biden and the Secretary of State to ask India’s Prime Minister to stop the ongoing violence against Christians and other minorities. Without the condition to protect its religious and ethnic minorities, India must not enjoy the kind of partnership it currently enjoys with the United States. India cannot be legitimately called the world’s largest democracy and a true partner with the U.S. if it does not right its wrong and protect its minorities.
Our letter to President Biden, which we also sent to Secretary of State Blinken, also provides a detailed memo showing numerous instances, evidence, and examples of the persecution of Christians that is commonplace in India. We will continue to fight for these suffering Christians through advocacy on Capitol Hill and at the U.N.