Indian Christians Promote Law Against Religious Violence

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A group of Christians in India initiated a national prayer campaign urging lawmakers to address a pending bill that seeks to curb violence targeting religious minorities, reported Fides, the Vatican missionary news agency.

Members of the All India Christian Council, an organization that promotes religious freedom for all minorities, particularly Christians, launched the initiative Dec. 12 to raise awareness of the “Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill.”

John Dayal, general secretary of the council, told Fides the bill is urgently needed “to put an end to hate campaigns and to restore confidence in minorities.”

Proposed earlier in 2011 by the National Advisory Council, the bill has yet to reach parliament but has gained support from many religious minority groups and citizens of India.

According to the council, the law aims to provide justice for victims of religious violence, target hate speech, censor violent behavior by extremist religious groups, and hold law enforcement officials accountable for not stopping or abetting the violence.

In India, inter-religious fighting has become a major issue and in the past four years close to 4,000 violent acts against religious minorities occurred, according to Fides, based on statistics released by India’s bishops.

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