According to Scroll.in, Hindu nationalist leaders in India’s Chhattisgarh state held a rally in late-December where violence was called for against India’s Christians and Muslims. The event was attended by the state’s Congress-led government, which has done little in response to the calls for violence against minorities.
The Dharam Sansad, or religious parliament, was held on December 25 and 26 in Raipur, the state capital of Chhattisgarh. The event was organized by Neelkanth Sewa Sansthan and the Doodhadhari Math.
Establishing India as a Hindu nation was among the chief agenda points set by the event’s organizers. During the two-day event, speeches by Hindu nationalist leaders called for India to be declared a Hindu nation and for violence to be perpetrated against religious minorities.
Ram Balak Das, a Hindu monk who spoke at the rally, called for Christians to be shot if they did not stop converting Hindus and Tribals to Christianity. At one point, Das led a chat in which the crowd chanted, “Stop them, chide them, and if that doesn’t work… shoot them.”
Acharya Anshu Dev, chief of the Arya Samaj in Chhattisgarh, invoked a common false narrative used against Christians to justify the violence. Dev spoke of an “urgent” need to reconvert those who had been fraudulently converted to Christianity. In his speech, Dev said, “If we can convert them all back, we will automatically get a Hindu Rashtra.”
The two-day rally was attended by leaders of the Chhattisgarh government, currently led by the Congress party. Following the incendiary remarks made by Das, Congress leader Pramod Dubey thanked Das for his “sermon” and said, “You are our guru.”
Addressing Das by name, Dubey continued, “It is our duty to spread your message to protect Sanatan Dharma, for it is not just your responsibility.”
Across India, similar rallies and hate speeches made by Hindu nationalists are inciting violence against Christians and their places of worship. Anti-Christian narratives are often used by Hindu nationalists to inspire religious intolerance and consolidate power.
Recently, the United Christian Forum (UCF) reported that 2021 was the most violent year on record for Indian Christians. According to UCF, Christians endured 486 violent attacks in 2021. With hate speeches against Christians going unchecked, it is likely attacks on Christians and their places of worship will continue to escalate in India.
This story first appeared on persecution.org