Today I read a letter sent to one of our supporters by the Consulate General of India here in Toronto. The letter is in response to one written in concern of the recent violence against Christians in Orissa.
The letter from the consulate (dated November 26) states that "India is a secular and democratic country were religious groups live harmoniously" and that the recent violence in Orissa was "an aberration." The letter concludes, "I would like to assure you that India is a peace loving country and all religious groups have complete freedom to practice their religion. There is no persecution against any particular religious community. The violence that occurred in the Kandhamal area of the State of Orissa is an isolated case and complete normalcy has been restored in the affected areas."
Rarely have I seen a letter so far removed from reality coming from a democratic country. At best, it is a feeble attempt at damage control. At worst, it is sheer fabrication. No persecution? An isolated case? Complete normalcy restored? I think the Christians in Orissa would beg to differ with each of these statements after the two series of attacks against them in the past year.
"All religious groups have complete freedom to practice their religion?" What about the seven states that have passed anti-conversion laws?
It is time that India stop pretending that all is well with their democracy. The world knows better. Their own people know better.