Christians feeling pinch of BJP's hegemony
Christians feeling pinch of BJP's hegemony

Christians feeling pinch of BJP's hegemony


Even without coming to power in Meghalaya, the alleged machinations of BJP-led NDA regime at the Centre has created hurdles for Christian missionaries in the state and several foreign visitors were denied visa, allege church leaders here.

"Bit by bit we were feeling the pinch....several American social workers and Church leaders from American Baptist Missionary Society and Garo Hills were denied visa," Rev JR Sangma general secretary of Garo Baptist Convention said.

He said he is aware of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's repeated assurances about safety and security of minorities.

"I think Modi has not been able to convince people about his government's approach towards minorities. We feel alienated. Prime Minister's statement sounds more like lip services," Rev Sangma said.

In the run up to the February 27 elections to Meghalaya assembly, the battle has intensified and in many quarters Christian leaders are apprehensive of BJP's hardliner Hindutva slant.

Rev WR Marak of Tura Baptist Church shares similar sentiment of Rev Sangma and says in more ways than one there are set of 'challenges' for the Church leaders in this predominantly Christian state.

The Christian leaders also point out that 'deliberate changes made by the central government in Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) has affected church bodies as funds flow has been hit.

"This is a serious issue. But we are unable to do much," says Rev Sangma adding several north eastern pastors and Church leaders and even among Catholics have expressed their concern over these developments.

However, not many Church leaders are aware about any roadmap to tackle the challenges.

"We don't have any strategy to counter BJP but we are confident about one thing -- the resilience power of Indians and the strong secular fabric," says a Christian educationist Anthony Gama.

Several other citizens in Tura and adjoining place feel Congress is also to be blamed for its long ineffective governance and faulty politics.

"Citizens in northeast have trusted Congress for decades but the party has let everyone down. It is Congress' non-performance that has helped create space for BJP and this remains a challenge," says educationist Anthony Gama.