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Indian Christians urged to defeat communal forces in polls

Two Christian-majority states go to polls on Feb. 27 amid ongoing persecution of the faithful across the country

Christian leaders from different parts of northeastern India attend a meeting in Assam on Feb. 14 ahead of polls in two Christian majority states

Christian leaders from different parts of northeastern India attend a meeting in Assam on Feb. 14 ahead of polls in two Christian majority states. (Photo: Supplied)

Published: February 22, 2023 07:23 AM GMT

Updated: February 22, 2023 08:20 AM GMT

Indian Christian leaders and the apex body of the Baptist Church have asked the faithful in two Christian-majority Indian states to defeat communal forces in state elections on Feb. 27.

“We sent a communication to all our people last Sunday [Feb. 12] during the prayer service and urged them to vote against communal forces working against Christians in our country,” Reverend Zelhou Keyho, general secretary of the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC), told UCA News on Feb. 21.

In a veiled call to reject pro-Hindu candidates, the NBCC, the apex body of the Baptist Church in Nagaland, asked people to “pray and choose able leaders who would do good for the state as well as who would listen to our people and respond effectively.”

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Christians account for 87 percent of Nagaland’s 2.2 million people and they make up 75 percent of Meghalaya’s 3.28 million population. Both the northeastern states have a 60-seater assembly and poll results will be declared on March 2. 

Tribal people-dominated Nagaland, home to the largest community of Baptist Christians in the world, is currently ruled by the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party, where the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi serves as its ally and in the hilly state of Meghalaya, the BJP is leaving no stone unturned to capture power for the first time.

Reverend Keyho asked Christians to exercise caution as the BJP, which has been heading the federal government since 2014 and enjoys 12 legislative assembly seats in Nagaland, can influence voters.

Reminding the faithful about the ongoing persecution of Christians and their institutions in the country, Reverend Keyho said in the message that “communal forces working against Christians” in India will have to be brought to justice.”

“We should all exercise our sacred duty keeping in mind the welfare of our community and the development of states,” Reverend Keyho said.

Ongoing attacks against Christians in the country are controlled by “the communal forces,” Allen Brooks, spokesman of the Assam Christian Forum, an ecumenical body, told UCA News.

“Voters should select candidates who are “worthy to lead” without “discrimination, injustice, inequalities and unrest,” he added.

India’s northeastern region comprises seven states. Tripura, one of them, went to the polls on Feb. 16.  Christian leaders met in the capital of the largest state of Assam on Feb. 14. 

In a statement on Feb. 19, they observed that “as individual voters, one must judiciously exercise our electoral privilege.”

“One should elect able leaders who are just and fair, who shun corrupt practices,” the statement, signed by E.H Kharkongor, said.

Crimes like the murder of Australian missioner Graham Staines more than 20 years ago and anti-Christian riots in Kandhamal in 2008 in Odisha in eastern India and innumerable incidents of violence and hate crimes in different parts of the country, are undertaken with the tacit support of the “ruling dispensation,” Kharkongor noted. 

The statement urged Christians not to compromise on the principles “taught to by our faith.”


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1 Comments on this Story
Sadly ambitious and avaricious Christian leaders in the North East have quite literally Supper with the devil for short term personal gains.

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