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ICF condemned the burning down of St. Sebastian Church in Delhi

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Dec. 10, 2014: The Indian Christian Forum, USA (ICF), an advocacy group promoting freedom of conscience issues, convened an emergency Executive Committee meeting and strongly condemned the burning down of St. Sebastian Church in Delhi, India on December 1, 2015.

Early indications by the experts point to arson as the reason for fire which gutted the sanctuary, sacristy and the first floor balcony. This nefarious act possibly by the extreme communal elements, who are emboldened by the election of the new BJP government, follows a pattern of attack against Christians and Christian institutions across the country. It was reported that a kerosene can was located near the ruins. The slow response by the law enforcement officials to investigate the suspicious fire seemed to have angered the faithful who used to worship at the St. Sebastian Church.

ICF also condemns the vitriolic hate speech by BJP Minister Niranjan Jyoti during an election rally in Delhi. She has described all non-Hindus in India as ‘bastards’ in a deliberate attempt to divide the community and exploit the religious sentiments to garner political mileage for BJP. Ms. Jyoti who has taken an oath to uphold the constitution may have violated the letter and spirit of the law and should have no place in the Government.

It appears that the new Government has given free rein to the most retrograde elements in the society who are directly challenging the pluralist ethos of the nation to the detriment of peaceful and stable democracy where all people could live and prosper regardless of their caste, color or religious differences.  The silence of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in these matters is just deafening!

ICF requested the Indian Diaspora, that is a minority in many countries including the United States, to voice their disapproval and disgust at the recent incidents by writing to the Prime Minister and urging him take stern measures to safeguard India’s democracy and freedom and its inclusive fabric.