The Baptist church in Nagaland has launched an unprecedented direct attack on BJP by calling on ‘believers’ not to surrender Christian principles and faith for the sake of money and development into the hands of those who seek to “pierce the heart of Jesus Christ.”
According to a report by The Indian Express, the Nagaland Baptist Churches Council (NBCC), apex body of Baptist churches in the state, in an open letter to presidents of all political parties in Nagaland, stated that India had experienced the worst persecution of minority communities in 2015-2017 under the RSS-backed BJP government.
“We cannot deny that the Hindutva movement in the country has become unprecedentedly strong and invasive in the last few years with BJP, the political wing of RSS, in power,” the newspaper quoted NBCC general secretary as saying.
“God must be weeping when Naga politicians are running after those who seek to destroy Christianity in India and in our land,” he said.
Rev. Zelhou Keyho, the NBCC general secretary said, “This time it has really become a threat (RSS-backed BJP). That is why we felt we had to make a strong statement not only on behalf of the church here but also on behalf of Christians in the country in general.”
The church leader is wary about the political ambitions of the BJP in the three Christian dominated states of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram.
“It is not just political interest,” he claimed but eluded substantiating on what agenda the BJP-RSS combine has in North East. He pointed out the conferences being hosted in Assam by the RSS and said the “tremors are being felt in Meghalaya and Nagaland.”
Despite a growing presence, BJP has been on the backfoot in both Nagaland and Meghalaya for issues like ‘beef ban’ and atrocities against minorities, particularly Christians.
That has apparently driven the BJP to go into the polls with strategic alliances with regional parties. In Nagaland, the BJP sealed alliance with the Nationalist Democratic People’s Party (NDPP).
Asked about the BJP-NDPP alliance, Rev. Keyho said, “At this moment, I will not be able to comment on NDPP but getting a regional party has emboldened the BJP.”
He added that “while politicians will say BJP is only a political party and we are not part of RSS, it is just political talk.”
The Baptist church leader further said that in a big country like India whose beauty lies in its diversity of cultures, traditions and practices, it is wrong to say that that the country has only one religion.
The Nagaland BJP is yet to reply to the NBCC general secretary’s open letter.