Magazine article The Christian Century

Christians in India Cheer Election Results

Magazine article The Christian Century

Christians in India Cheer Election Results

Article excerpt

Christian churches in India have applauded the upset election victory last month of the secularist India National Congress Party over the National Democratic Alliance, which is known for its Hindu-first message. After Sonia Gandhi, the president of the Congress Party, declined to accept the prime minister's job, the post went to a Sikh, the country's first minority-faith prime minister.

Manmohan Singh said that his government would not tolerate riots such as those in Gujarat state in 2002 (in which upwards of 1,000 Muslims died) and the anti-Sikh riots in 1984. "These things should never happen again," Singh said in New Delhi.

The election results "have encouraged us to restore our hope in the democratic system of our country and the secular fabric of our nation," said Ipe Joseph, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in India, a coalition of Protestant and Orthodox churches. Christians constitute about 2 percent of India's population (Muslims are about 12 percent and Sikhs slightly less than 2 percent).

The NCCI is a member of the National United Christian Forum, along with the Catholic Bishops Conference of India and the Evangelical Fellowship of India. The forum issued its congratulations to the "secular democratic forces" that won the election. …

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