(Photo: All India Christian Council)
More than 15,000 people of various faiths and social status marched in the streets of New Delhi on Thursday to protest the out-of-control violence against Christians in India.
Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, politicians and civilians joined together in the Peace and Solidarity rally which was held to coincide with the 139th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi – the “Father of the Nation” who is renowned for his acts of non-violent civil disobedience.
“The very killers of Mahatma Gandhi are the same killers of Christians in Orissa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and other parts of the country,” declared prominent scholar and peace activist Swami Agnivesh at the rally, according to All India Christian Council (AICC).
Also speaking out against the violence was Indian Union Minister for Indian Railways, Shri Lalu Prasad Yadav.
In his address at the rally, he vowed to personally meet with the country’s prime minister and “discuss urgently urgently about implementing Article 355” in the Constitution, which would allow the federal government to intervene in state affairs to protect Christians against aggression.
“I will also take up the anti-Christian violence in Parliament and debate the hatred of Hindutva forces,” he added.
The rally was the highlight of a five-day protest that began on Sunday. The event is known as a dharna and is an Indian method of seeking justice. Traditionally, those seeking justice sit at the door of their wrongdoer and fast until they obtain justice.
In the early hours of the rally, chief minister of Delhi, Smt. Sheila Dixit showed her solidarity with the protesters by condemning the Hindu fanatics who are responsible for killing dozens of Christians and burning hundreds of Christian homes, businesses and churches.
Just in eastern Orissa state alone, 50,000 Christians are said to be displaced from their homes.
The violence, which began in August, is said to be the worst anti-Christian attacks in the 60 years of India’s independence.