India’s Prime Minister Narenda Modi and Pope Francis’ first meeting is seen to be crucial in addressing religious discrimination issue especially of Christians in India.
INDIAN Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to hold a one-on-one meeting with Pope Francis as world leaders attend the G20 summit in Rome this weekend.
Though seen by many as a potential thorny encounter India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said the Vatican has not set any agenda for the talks other than Covid-19.
Since Modi took office in 2014, he and his political party has been accused of fueling a rise in religious discrimination and violence in favor of the Hindu-majority.
Religious minorities such as Muslims, who make up roughly 14% of the population and Christians, making up just over 2% have seen an increase in reported violent attacks.
A fact-finding report consolidated by a group of NGOs shows that more than 300 violent events have been reported this year alone but is being written under the pretext that Christians are forcing Hindus to convert.
The group’s national coordinator A.C. Michael told reporters that the Hindu activists cannot show proof of the alleged religious conversion and that the police have made no arrests despite evidence of violence.
The archbishop emeritus of Guwahati, Thomas Menamparampil, along with other priests have decried the persecution and violence as “a vicious form of nationalism.”
Earlier this month, India’s Karnataka state government announced they are considering an Anti-Conversion Bill but was questioned for being unconstitutional as well as for only targeting Christians.
Local Catholic Church leaders have made a passionate appeal to “preserve the communal peace, tranquility and brotherhood, which is the hallmark of any prograssive State”.
However, Modi’s government has rejected having a Hindu agenda and insists that people of all regions have equal rights in India.
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