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NBCC alarmed by rise in communalism in India

Dimapur, May 19 (NPN)
Published on 20 May. 2017 12:00 AM IST
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Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) reiterated that India is home to diverse religious and ethnic groups where diversities as enshrined in its constitution guarantees the privilege to enjoy basic civil and political rights and freedom to pursue one’s beliefs. 
However, NBCC said it was deeply alarmed at the resurgence of attacks on Christian minorities in India which have increased since 2011. It pointed out that Christians in India formed less than 3% of the country’s population though in majority in Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya. NBCC said beyond the north east, Christians constitute a significant segment in Kerala and Goa. Since Christians in other parts of India like- Gujarat, Rajasthan,Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh- are insignificant in number, rules on conversion and baptism are made complicated. 
NBCC said Christians in these states face official intimidation when they attempt to formalise their identity as Christians and those converting are made to seek permission from the government agencies. NBCC said these rules were clearly against the right to freedom of religion.
NBCC termed the recent resolution by state BJP made at its 5th executive meeting in Kohima, to “safeguard the Christian faith”, as the first of its kind for a political party to courageously come out in defence of Christian minorities in India. However, NBCC pointed out that the state unit’s expressed disappointment on the church in defending its own faith stood contrary. Of late, NBCC said rise in suppression of faith and practice not in line with mainline practices in India were on the rise and there was no doubt that the centre was “politically motivated to suppress the minorities.
It cited incidents such as making Good Governance Day on Christmas, Digital India on Easter Sunday besides the attempt to have a ‘Uniform Civil Code’ and unleashing of ‘Cow Vigilante’ that has led the religious minorities feel insecure in a democratic and secular country.  NBCC said the church has a responsibility towards the well being of its members and therefore obligated to examine and educate members of the plans and policies of any political party which made Christians in particular, feel these policies were designed to target them adding the secular credentials of any political party can only be trusted if it remained purely political and not motivated by any religious agenda.
NBCC also expressed gratitude to chief minister of Nagaland for writing a strong resentment against Digital India being planned on Easter Sunday and also assuring the church that the day will not be observed on Easter Sunday in Nagaland. It said such policies were examples which have confronted the church time and again.
NBCC repeated that while it was not for or against any political party, it will however stand to defend the Christian faith from any political party that threatens the church. It reminded that minorities in India face violence especially Dalit Christians and Muslims and hurting religious sentiments with students being compelled to take part in mass yoga “Surya Namaskar.” 
Thus defence of one’s religious beliefs should not be construed as being against any political party as the church was only against policies of any party which made Christians insecure and defenceless, said NBCC.
Further, NBCC said it was also not against any development programme of the government but to give the message that any religion should be allowed to flourish peacefully without interference and influence by the majority and to maintain the secular flavour as guaranteed by the constitution.

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