Christians in India are observing a sobering four-year anniversary of a change in power under a Hindu nationalist platform – one that has resulted in a dramatic decline in religious freedom.
Four years ago, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) rose to power following the national elections. Ever since 2014 – when that change occurred – statistics show that there has been 232-percent increase in the number of reported incidents of persecution against Christians.
William Stark, who serves with the persecution watchdog, International Christian Concern, asserts that the shift in power is nothing to celebrate for Christians, but rather something to lament, as the four-year anniversary to them is nothing more than a remembrance of four years of pain and suffering.
"The past four years under the BJP and Modi rule have been extremely difficult for Christians," Stark contends.
Stark told OneNewsNow that India wants to increase their economy and international trade, so he sees this as a great opportunity for the United States to help bring about change by applying some economic pressure on the Hindu nation.
"If we make our business dealings contingent upon human rights standards, that will change what's going on in India,” the Christian leader asserted. “The moment they start violating that – and it bites them – India will start to change, but so far, we haven't pushed that ball forward yet.
Stark maintains that it is about time for the United States to take action and press for the religious liberty of Christians overseas.
“We haven't really made a lot of our trade deals contingent upon human rights standards – or even religious freedom standards – so that will be something huge that will help change India pretty quickly," the advocate of the persecuted Church pointed out.
Stark noted that one way Indians are seeing an increase in persecution of Christians in India is through anti-conversion laws – as Hindu radicals are falsely accusing Christians of taking part in forced conversations.