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Indian archbishop speaks out against rising number of lynching incidents

The Archbishop of Bhopal, Leo Cornelio, has recently spoken out against the increasing number of lynching incidents affecting religious minorities in India.

International Christian Concern reported that in addition to lynchings, India’s Christian have endured another year of religiously motivated violence according to a recent report by the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI).

Writing to the Catholic News Agency, Archbishop Cornelio said,

The common man of the country is feeling insecurity in his own country due to the increasing cases of mob lynching.” Archbishop Cornelio went on to explain that many of the mob lynchings have victimized religious minorities that are accused of eating beef or otherwise harming cattle, considered sacred by Hindus.

In cases where the violence is perpetrated by “cow protection vigilantes”, justice is hard to come by. Archbishop Cornelio explains, “These would not be treated as ordinary crimes. The vigilantes would often be supported, sometimes explicitly, by political parties and governments.

Unfortunately, the increased number of lynching cases is just a symptom of a larger problem in India. Religiously motivated violence and religious intolerance across the country has dramatically increased under the current BJP-led government.

Since coming to power in 2014, the BJP-led government has overseen a tenure that has witnessed a dramatic rise in attacks on religious minorities. According to EFI’s annual reports on Christian persecution,

Indian Christians suffered 144 violent attacks in 2014, the year the BJP came to power. That number skyrocketed to 351 attacks in 2017 after three years of BJP rule. The number of attacks leveled off slightly to 325 in 2018, according to EFI’s most recent persecution report.

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