A Christian mission group is fearful that the recent terror attacks by Muslim militants will help a Hindu nationalist party gain control of the government.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hindu nationalist and opposition party, has been flaming the anger against Muslim extremists responsible for the attacks and the inept Indian government for failing to prevent the bombings in hopes of increasing their support ahead of next year’s general elections.
The Hindu fundamentalist group, who is frequently linked to anti-Christian campaigns, has promised tougher anti-terror laws.
“This party (BJP) is anti-Muslim and anti-Christian, and it (terror attacks) could give them enough impetus to actually get control of the government of India as they did about ten years ago, and this would be very bad news for Christians,” said Dave Stravers of Mission India, according to Mission Network News.
Mission India’s top leaders had a training conference in Mumbai about a mile from the initial attack site when the bombings started. None of the church leaders were harmed, but they were trapped in their building for a while when affected parts of the city were shut down.
Stravers said the government’s mistakes are “giving a lot of political ammunition to the BJP.”
It was revealed on Monday that U.S. intelligence had warned the Indian government twice about a potential attack against Mumbai at least a month ahead of the massacre, according to CNN.
India security forces have confirmed that U.S. officials did warn them about a possible assault. Security measures were heightened for about a week, but then they were relaxed, Indian officials said.
The Mumbai massacre last week killed nearly 180 people with bombings in 10 sites across India’s financial hub. Most of the deaths occurred at two of India’s top hotels, the Taj Mahal and the Oberoi, with many foreigners, including Americans, among the casualties.
While the Indian government is rightly blamed for its lapse of security, a BJP-controlled government would be bad news for Christians in India.
The BJP is blamed for supporting Hindu extremists in their attacks against Christians in Orissa state, where hundreds of believers’ homes, businesses, orphanages and churches have been burned.
Some 50,000 Christians are displaced by the violence – the worst sectarian conflict in India’s 60 years of independence – and can only return to their home if they agree to convert to Hinduism.
“We’re praying for Christians to be strong in their witness,” Stravers said. “The church is growing fast. This is the good news. Nevertheless, believers will perhaps be suffering in the meantime.”