Christians and Other Non-Hindus in India Are Being Denied Government Aid During Coronavirus Lockdowns

As many Christians and other non-Hindus in India are being denied government-issued food rations amid the coronavirus pandemic, a coalition of multi-faith representatives are calling on President Donald Trump to hold the country’s leaders accountable.

On Monday, Save the Persecuted Christians in partnership with the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations delivered a letter to Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and World Bank Group President David Malpass.

The letter, signed by multi-faith representatives from 34 organizations and ministries, argues that the World Bank must seat an accountability committee to oversee and monitor India’s use of the $1 billion aid package allocated to the country for COVID-19 related to testing and management.

John Prabhudoss, FIACONA chairman, told The Christian Post that the organization has received “several reports” of religious minorities in India being mistreated during the pandemic.

“Specifically, many are being left out of the programs created to help the people during this crisis,” he said. “Obviously, there are several systemic flaws in the Hindu nationalist government’s approach to the problem. Because of those fundamentally flawed approaches, Christians and other religious minorities are suffering but they are not the only victims. Various sections of economically vulnerable people are also suffering due to these fundamentally flawed attitudes of the Hindu nationalist government.”

The letter, he said, is urging the Trump administration to “put in place a mechanism to address, if not reduce, the drawbacks in the approach of the Hindu nationalist government and possible misuse of funds given by the World Bank to India.”

“Specifically, we are recommending them to seat a committee made up of multi-faith leaders and eminent economists in India as a watchdog that will report directly to the World Bank,” he said. “They can oversee how this money is spent instead of leaving it all in the hands of a government that has already proven to have a flawed approach.”

More than 1.3 billion people across India have lived under lockdown for more than three weeks. The country recorded 4,213 new infections from Sunday morning to Monday morning, taking its total to 67,152, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. So far, 2,415 people have died.

The letter cites a report from The Scroll in India, which highlights how the COVID-19 lockdowns have disproportionately affected migrant workers. The report documents 189 lockdown-related deaths, including suicide, death during the journey that migrant workers made to their home states, hunger and police brutality.

The detainment of people of certain non-Hindu religious faiths in isolation facilities even when they do not test positive for the virus, the letter claims, “is due to malicious intent, and religious, bias tacitly promoted by the Modi government.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett

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