Guest post: Chris Padiath on Persecution in India

As a first generation Canadian of Indian immigrants, my first-hand impression when visiting Kerala state, famously known as “God’s Own Country”, was the fairly peaceful coexistence of various religions and the promotion of religious liberties. Christianity, in particular, has flourished in the South. Many free South Indians are naïve of what is actually happening among oppressed North Indians. Religion and politics are intricately and inseparably linked in India. The agenda of the radical nationalists is to restore India to its former identity as “Hindustan” by means of oppressing the Christians and other religious minorities. The more northward you travel in India, to states like Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, the more vivid the religious oppression.

While the national leaders have vocalized their oppressive vision ideologically, it is actually the youth of the nation who are enforcing the vision practically in various localities. The eight case studies in the Destructive Lies Report carried out by the London School of Economics described religious persecution in its many forms as harassment, assault, beatings, taunting, torture, arrest, intimidation, ousting, the spread of disinformation and lynching. These acrimonious crimes are often carried out in the style of mob attacks so that the responsibility cannot be placed on one person, but displaced onto many people leaving any investigations inconclusive. India remains a country marked by systemic corruption at every level. The judicial system has failed to protect and serve the religious minorities. Anyone in power can be bribed to turn a blind eye to the injustices that Christians and other religious minorities experience.

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There is a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual toll upon those who are oppressed. On top of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a compounded hopelessness in India and the narrative among religious minorities is that things are going to become progressively worse if something does not change. Though oppressed, these religious minorities remain resilient, a key characteristic of a nation that has experienced many waves of oppression by means of colonialism (i.e. Portuguese India and British India).

The injustice and oppression of Indians around the world and religious minorities in India are stories that still remain largely untold. Part of the reason for this is because those affected have believed the lie that silence is the only option for survival. The way forward requires amplifying the voices of the silent, listening and learning from their lived experiences, advocating for the censorship of extremist and biased propaganda on all news/media outlets and rallying an international human rights campaign that dignifies those who have been dehumanized. Understanding the power of technology in the twenty-first century, there is a need to develop digital solutions for communication platforms like WhatsApp and leveraging algorithms for Facebook in order to reach India’s nearly 1.4 billion people. Part of responding appropriately requires being informed with reliable information from eyewitnesses.

The Destructive Lies Report provides invaluable insights through case studies that will break every reader’s heart and call every reader to advocate for the persecuted Christians and other religious minorities of India.

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Dr. Chris Padiath serves as the Lead Pastor at Waterloo Pentecostal Assembly, a multi-ethnic church in Waterloo, Ontario. His doctoral research was in the field of ethnodoxology. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Master’s College & Seminary teaching undergraduate students in the Worship & Creative Arts track. Chris and his wife, Kylie, have two daughters, Olivia (13) and Sadie (11).

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