The new US president was challenged on the day of his inauguration to honour the human rights of minorities and to understand the anxieties of those targeted by hate and violence, by a prominent Indian Christian writer and activist, Dr. John Dayal.
Speaking exclusively to Global Christian News Dr. Dayal said, “US presidencies and administrations have an impact on the world. India cannot be unaffected. The two countries have strong historic ties as great, vibrant constitutional
democracies which believe in the rule of law. They also have strong economic ties and remain connected in matters of international security and peace. The very large number of persons of Indian origin, and Indian citizens living and working in the US, most of them medical, technological, information technology and business professionals, also means that they have a powerful reach and intervention in every state, and specially in Washington. They enjoy the constitutional freedoms given them by the US constitution. There are Indians nominated for the US President’s cabinet. Some are in Governor’s houses in some states. There are many representative faith-based organizations of Indians in various states, and specially in Washington. Most of them work for improving bilateral relations, and lobby for the human rights and liberties of religious and ethnic minorities in the US. But there are some that have in the past have gone beyond these activities into a malevolent and partisan program. They have an agenda to pre-empt and stop international reaction and response to speech inciting violence against Christians and other religious minorities in India by majoritarian, radical and fanatical political groups which we collectively call the Sangh Parivar. Some of them are linked to the party that now governs India. We hope the new administration will understand the anxieties of the victims of this targeted hate and violence.”
He further elaborated, “India is a signatory to the United Nations Charter, and human rights, specially the Freedom of Religions and Belief, enshrined in it. We have always maintained that relations, political, economic including trade, between nations have strong commitment to these fundamental rights of all men, women and children everywhere in the world. Together with the people of America, we look forward to the new administration working to heal the internal wounds of its own country, and in helping peace and reconciliation in all parts of the world. With India and Pakistan, both nuclear weapon states, confronting each other, accusing each other of complicity in the growth of terror groups, peace in the subcontinent is a major issue. We hope the new administration will use its influence to keep south Asia peaceful, and eventually free of nuclear weapons. Though the countries of the south Asian subcontinent have different political systems, from secular democracy to theocratic monarchy and virtual military dictatorship, there is a sad common thread that runs through them. This is the terribly vulnerability of the small, often microscopic Christian community in each country. They are hounded, attacked, denied religious freedom, imprisoned, and sometimes killed. They are also victims of state apathy, bigotry and impunity. International moral support is important to them. We hope the US will, with other nations, make efforts to ensure they live in peace, and prosper. We also pray for peace in the Mid-east where the Christian community has been pushed to the brink, its very existence threatened.”
Dr. John Dayal besides being an activist and writer, is the former National President of the All India Catholic Union and the present Spokesperson of the United Christian Forum.