FIACONA, welcomes the Prime Minister of India to Washington.

October 1, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

ModiWashington DC, September 28, 2014: Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA) welcomes the Prime Minister of India to Washington.

Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi has primarily come to attend the UN general Assembly in New York, he is expected to visit Washington DC tomorrow, September 29, at the invitation of President Obama.

Mr. Modi, who was denied a visa to visit the United States in 2005 because of his obvious culpability in the political massacre of religious minorities in the state of Gujarat, India, while he was the state’s chief elected official, was granted a US visa to attend the UN General Assembly as India’s elected Prime Minister.

But unfortunately, Mr. Modi’s past has been proving to be an unnecessary distraction during this important visit where so much is at stake for India’s economic development and trade. Such distractions involving the Prime Minister of India during his meetings with other world leaders is regrettable but unavoidable as FIACONA has pointed out several times in the past.

While we strongly support multi-faceted close cooperation and engagement with India, we caution US officials and policy makers to keep in mind the radical ideologies and political background of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its affiliates, which remains as a serious concern for FIACONA. It becomes an important responsibility of the international community to prevent a progressive and liberal democratic country like the size of India, turning into a radical religious state with a naked majority rule, in a fashion similar to that of Egypt, Uganda or Tibet. We advise those policy makers who are either ambiguous or think otherwise, to please refresh themselves with the recent history of US policies supporting leaders belonging to radical nationalist groups, for one or other “compelling” reasons.

FIACONA urges our policy makers to develop long term strategies for the mutual benefit of both countries grounded on common political and social values. It is advisable not to be seen rushing to reward or validate groups that harbor radical ideologies for short term strategic or trade gains.

Mr. Modi’s political party and its ideological partners have been implicated in several violent campaigns against religious minorities, especially against Christians since 1999, including the massacre of Christian villagers in the eastern Indian State of Orissa recently.

We must keep in mind that dozens of US and European visitors are denied entry upon arrival in India or deported, every single day even today, for having merely attended a Sunday worship service in a church or for having met Indian Christian leaders in the past.

The continued enactment of legislations in BJP ruled states, including the one passed by Mr. Modi while he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, restricting people from following whatever religious faiths they choose, while protecting party operatives who are engaged in massive illegal intimidation campaigns to convert non-Hindus to Hinduism continues to be a serious concern.

India, under Mr. Modi’s leadership continues to throw road blocks at social and educational institutions run by Christian organizations. Government policies are on a full scale assault on Christian institutions by cancelling their licenses on flimsy grounds every single day in India. Other strategic policy decisions of this BJP government has the potential to deeply harm Christian institutions and their very presence in India.

Pushing a sectarian nationalist agenda which they call Hindutva, on an economic powerhouse like India by Mr. Modi and his party is neither good for the economic development nor for its trade with the rest of the world.

Loud and aggressive display of support by a small percentage of Indians both among Indians and expat Indians does not change these facts above.

We hope the United States, while welcoming the Prime Minister of India to Washington, would stand by its commitment to support plural liberal democracies.

In a country like India the United States cannot afford to be otherwise.

We urge our leaders who are meeting with Mr. Modi, to go on the record, encouraging him to uphold the values of the modern plural civil societies instead of pushing the nationalist BJP party’s stated sectarian Hindutva agenda at the expense of Christian and other religious minorities in India.

John Prabhudoss, President
K.P. Verghese, Vice- President
Angeline Lazarus, General Secretary

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