Paris attacks show two sides of India’s Modi: critics

Activists say Indian PM condemns religious violence abroad, ignores it at home:

“Modi has two faces: one for India and another for outside India,” said Father Sebastian Poomattom, vicar general of Raipur Archdiocese in Chhattisgarh state, which has witnessed a series of attacks on Christians since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which backs Modi, came to power.

<p>Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives to attend the G20 Leaders' Summit welcoming ceremony on Nov. 15 in Antalya, Turkey. (Photo by Ozan Kose/AFP)</p>

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives to attend the G20 Leaders’ Summit welcoming ceremony on Nov. 15 in Antalya, Turkey. (Photo by Ozan Kose/AFP)

  • ucanews.com reporter, New Delhi
  • India
  • November 16, 2015
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condemned the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris, but back home in India, he allows Hindu fundamentalists to lash out against religious minorities, activists say.

Joining world leaders for the G20 summit in Turkey, Modi suggested a series of steps to address religion-linked terrorism.

“Terrorism is a principle global challenge,” Modi said Nov. 15, two days after the devastating Paris attacks claimed by the Islamic State group.

“We must isolate those who support and sponsor terrorism, and stand with those who share our values of humanism,” Modi said in his address, according to a text of his speech.

However, activists in India say Modi is employing two vastly different messages for two different audiences.

“Modi has two faces: one for India and another for outside India,” said Father Sebastian Poomattom, vicar general of Raipur Archdiocese in Chhattisgarh state, which has witnessed a series of attacks on Christians since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which backs Modi, came to power.

In neighboring Madhya Pradesh state, Christian leaders have recorded more than 100 attacks on people and churches since Modi’s party took power there in 2003. More than 20 of these attacks came in the last six months, but local police have not arrested any perpetrators, Christians say.

Some extremist Hindu leaders have publicly called for India to be cleared of Muslims and Christians by 2020, while other fundamentalists have urged strict population control measures for minority religions in the Hindu-majority nation. Modi and his administration, critics say, have stayed silent.

At least two Muslims were recently killed because of issues linked with the consumption of beef — many Hindus consider cows to be sacred — and at least six churches were attacked in New Delhi alone since Modi came to power in 2014. But Modi’s administration often dismisses such violence as sporadic crimes.

Hafiz Ahmed Hawari, head of the group All India Jamait-ul Hawarin, told ucanews.com that religion-based violence is increasing — part of a climate of fear for minority Christians and Muslims in India.

John Dayal, a prominent Christian activist, believes Modi’s remarks at the G20 are a screen for his domestic policies.

“Prime Minister Modi thinks he is making common cause with perceived anti-Islam feelings in western people, political groups and governments,” said Dayal, who is also a board member with ucanews.com.

Vijayesh Lal, a member of the Evangelical Fellowship of India, said Modi should translate his words against religious terrorism abroad into action within India itself.

“Terror should be equally condemned whether it is in India or abroad,” he said.

However, members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party said religious minorities should not equate their “minor problems” to the terrorism of the Islamic State group.

“It would be erroneous on the part of Christians and Muslims … to equate law and order problems and petty communal tension in India with the scale of terrorism Islamic terrorists have unleashed the world over,” said Jagdambika Pal, a parliamentarian with the party.

Sudesh Verma, another party leader, said: “In the last two days even liberal thinkers in Pakistan are talking about corrective steps in their backyards. But in India some people try to drag out another kind of debate. It’s uncalled for and unfortunate.”

1 Comment

  1. November 19, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Dear Fr. Sebastien, — One day ONLY GOD will be able to clarify why India got fooled in to voting for the present EMPEROR — BUT in the
    meanwhile please be careful as to how outspoken you are — or else
    you may suddenly disappear without a trace — regards

    Like


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