Kerala Church Appeals to UN: Address Anti-Christian Violence in India and Pakistan

Kerala Church Appeals to UN: Address Anti-Christian Violence in India and Pakistan

Delhi - Amidst the aftermath of recent instances where Christian residences and churches were subjected to mob assaults in Jaranwala, located in Pakistan's Punjab province, and ongoing sectarian tensions in Manipur State of Northeast India, specifically directed towards Christians, the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) has made a plea for the United Nations to step in. The plea aims to put an end to the repetitive occurrences of violence against Christians in both nations.

Highlighting the escalating trend of Christians being singled out for rioting and mob-led aggressions in India and Pakistan, the Catholic organization emphasized this concern through an official statement.

Manipur Sectarian Unrest

For over three months, Manipur State has been ravaged by sectarian violence, with a significant focus on the tribal ethnic Kuki Christian community. Tragically, this wave of violence has resulted in the loss of nearly 200 lives and the displacement of more than 50,000 individuals. Alarmingly, the Indian government's response has remained conspicuously muted throughout this period.

Amidst this turmoil, distressing accounts have emerged of over a dozen instances of violence against women during the riots. The repercussions of this unrest have extended to the destruction of numerous churches and Christian establishments, including schools, with hundreds of these vital institutions being set ablaze.

Vandalized Christian Homes Spark Prayer Day in Jaranwala, Pakistan

In Jaranwala, Pakistan, a disturbing incident unfolded on August 16, where more than 80 Christian homes and 19 churches fell victim to vandalism by Muslim mobs. The trigger for this wave of violence was reportedly false accusations of desecration. Following these shocking attacks, on August 20, Catholic communities all across Pakistan united in observance of a Special Day of Prayer to show solidarity with the affected victims.

This disturbing episode is just the latest in a distressing series of assaults against Christians in Pakistan. These communities not only face ongoing discrimination but are also frequently subjected to the misuse of the highly contentious blasphemy laws. These laws, known for their controversial nature, impose severe penalties on individuals who are accused of disrespecting or demeaning Pakistan's religion.

Minority Christians Face Attacks in India and Pakistan, Urgent UN Appeal Made

Christians comprise approximately 2.3 percent of India's 1.4 billion population, predominantly Hindu, whereas Christians make up 1.5 percent of the populace.

The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) has issued a statement, urging the United Nations to intervene decisively to safeguard Christians in India and Pakistan against such assaults.

Expressing concern, Father Jacob G Palakkappilly, KCBC spokesperson cited by UCA News agency, lamented the baseless targeting of the Christian minority by the majority Muslim population in Pakistan.

Father Palakkappilly underscored that acts of terrorism thrive on sectarianism and communal division, often inciting violence that compels many to flee their homes due to safety concerns.

He highlighted that numerous individuals undergo persecution solely due to their Christian identity, a minority status in several nations.
According to the United Christian Forum (UCF) based in New Delhi, there have been 400 recorded instances of targeted attacks on Christians in India during the initial half of this year, compared to 274 in the same period of 2022. Many of these attacks were launched on false grounds of religious conversion, which has been criminalized in several Indian states. The KCBC asserted that anti-conversion laws have been exploited by pro-Hindu groups to target Christians.

KCBC Appeals Before International Day for Victims of Religious Violence

The upcoming International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, observed annually on August 22, saw the KCBC's plea.

Established by a 2019 UN General Assembly resolution, the day aligns with the UN's dedication to safeguarding human rights linked to freedom of religion or belief.

Through this declaration, the UN General Assembly reaffirmed that it's the responsibility of nations to uphold and defend human rights, particularly those of religious minority members, including their unrestricted practice of faith.

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