Seventeen members of the Oireachtas have signed a petition to the Indian Ambassador to Ireland requesting the Indian government act to protect Christians who continue to face ongoing attacks from Hindu extremists.
Among those who signed the petition (which has received cross-party support) are Senator Ivana Bacik (Labour), Seán Barrett TD (Fine Gael), Kevin “Boxer” Moran TD (Independent), Senator David Norris (Independent), Maureen O’Sullivan TD (Independent), Eamon Ryan TD (Green Party leader) and Robert Troy TD (Fianna Fáil).
In the petition (full text below), the TDs and Senators express their concern at the fact that the incidence of attacks on Christians in India has been growing alarmingly in recent years and ask the Indian government to take effective action to combat the attackers, protect the victims and promote religious freedom.
David Turner (Director, Church in Chains) said: “We are encouraged by the response of the TDs and Senators who have signed this petition. It clearly shows the widespread concern across the political spectrum in Ireland for those Christians who are victims of religiously-motivated violent attacks by Hindu extremists, the shock at the inaction of the Indian government and the demand for the Indian government to act swiftly to halt the violence and protect religious freedom.”
Church in Chains has written to the new Indian Ambassador to Ireland, Mr Sandeep Kumar, to advise him of the petition and to request a meeting with him to present the petition and discuss the concerns expressed in it.
The Oireachtas petition is the latest initiative taken by Church in Chains to highlight the dramatic upsurge in persecution of Indian Christians in recent years. It follows the publication of a report titled “OFFICIAL INDIA: ON THE SIDE OF THE MILITANTS” in Spring 2018 and a subsequent appearance by a Church in Chains delegation before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence.
The Indian Ambassador chose not to accept an invitation to appear before the Joint Committee and has not responded to several approaches from Church in Chains to discuss the matter.
The full text of the letter is: “I write, as a member of the Oireachtas, to express my deep concern at the fact that Christians in India face violent attacks from Hindu extremists on an ongoing basis. I understand that the incidence of such attacks has been growing alarmingly in recent years – over 700 such incidents were reported in 2017 according to figures provided by Church in Chains to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs earlier this year and anti-Christian violence has continued on a weekly basis throughout 2018.
“It is clear based on the multiplicity of reports from monitoring agencies, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, that attackers are generally acting with impunity and are rarely arrested.
“I am disappointed to learn that, to date, you have not responded to many expressions of concern about this issue and failed to respond to an invitation to appear before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs.
“I ask that you convey our appeal to your government to take effective action to combat the attackers, protect the victims and promote religious freedom.”
The petition was signed by: Bobby Aylward TD, Senator Ivana Bacik, Seán Barrett TD, Pat Casey TD, Joan Collins TD, Noel Grealish TD, Seán Haughey TD, Senator Kevin Humphreys, John Lahart TD, Mattie McGrath TD, Kevin Moran TD, Senator Rónán Mullen, Senator David Norris, Maureen O’Sullivan TD, Willie Penrose TD, Eamon Ryan TD and Robert Troy TD.