United Kingdom takes up persecution of Christians in India
The UK Government on Tuesday said that it would take up the issue of the alleged persecution of Christians in India with Indian authorities, days after a review commissioned by the Foreign Office highlighted several such cases in India. During a scheduled session of oral questions for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the House of Commons, UK Foreign Office Minister Mark Field said the British government would raise all specific cases of such alleged religious persecution in India with its counterparts
Foreign Office Minister Mark Field
Foreign Office Minister Mark Field responded: “India of course has been one of many countries where there has been an increase, worsening of cases. We will obviously take up at the consular level all the cases that the member refers to”. He was responding to a specific intervention by Scottish National Party MP David Linden, who raised the case of a group of Christians allegedly being beaten during a prayer meeting in India in early May and asked for government action over the escalating cases in the country.
Earlier, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt spoke of a roundtable of faith leaders he had attended at the British High Commissioner's residence in Nigeria over the issue. He pointed to a report he had commissioned to review the persecution of Christians around the World and consider appropriate measures to counter the problem. "The reason we commissioned this report was a sense that whilst we have called out persecution of people of other religions we have been more reticent in doing that when it's Christians. When actually 80 per cent of all the religious persecution is against Christians, he said.
The interim report submitted by the Bishop of Truro earlier this month was described as a truly sobering look at the persecution of Christians worldwide, as it quoted figures from Persecution Relief to highlight 736 such attacks in India in 2017, up from 348 in 2016. The report alleges that mob violence has become a ‘regular occurrence’ in Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Telangana. It further leads to beatings, forced conversion from Christianity to Hinduism, sexual violence against women and murder.
At a launch event of campaign group - Open Doors’ world watch list of 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution, Hunt said UK should draw attention to such cases in India. The world watch list group for the first time included India in the top ten countries where Christians face the most persecution.
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