Number 11 in the list of “Open door” India. To talk about the reasons for persecution in the largest democratic country in the world, we are joined by Joseph D’souza. He is a Bishop of the Church of the Good Shepherd, and a human rights activist, and he hails from the beautiful country of India.
MAN: thank you very much for what you have again joined us on the air. Why India is at such a high place in the list of ten?
Joseph D’souza, the Church of the Good Shepherd:
I think in India 2017 was a very bad year. It was tough. Apparently the country this place in the list due to the frequent attacks on the local level by various Hindu right wing groups. Do attacks and cases of harassment has increased in the past year.
MHN: What is so different the past year that made it even more difficult for believers in India?
It is connected not only with Christians but also with Muslims as well as Hindus. Over the last couple of years have seen an increase in the number of cases of violence across the country: murders, lynchings and the like. This spreads the propaganda, which, of course, completely wrong, and that Christians allegedly involved in some fraudulent appeals to faith. Nothing like this happens, and if it was, then these Christians would long ago have seized and pursued in a judicial order, given the laws against conversion to the faith, which operate in the country, particularly in the North. In General, the propaganda that Christians are somehow harmful to India and act against its interests, leading a Christian way of life — that all of these moves. This contributes to the lack of control over these groups who commit crimes, attacks on minorities, because they think, “Oh, in power our party! So we can do whatever you want”.
MHN: for many years you advocate for social justice and freedom for the community of Dalits — so-called untouchables in India. Share news about what God is doing among the Dalits, among these so-called untouchables.
I think our movement over the last 20-25 years has come a long way.
I said before and I continue to say that India cannot continue to live with the caste system. And India needs to find refers to the whole of India, all regions, they must find a way to overcome this caste system in our religion and to do away with the concept of “Dalits”. Although many Dalits have the freedom and dignity thanks to Christian activities, education, spiritual work and so forth, the problem is still not solved.
MHN: But in the midst of all these problems, the Church still growing?
The Church should grow in this conflict. Persecution never stopped the growth of the Church. In fact, when we attack, we pursue, we become stronger, and the faith of our Northern brothers and sisters such that it is hard to believe. They continue to witness to others not for any profit. They have no foreign funding. So, local believers stand firmly on your own.