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MARGARET ALVA
On New Year’s Eve 2022.
Dear Prime Minister,
I write to you, the Leader of our great Democratic,Secular, Socialist
Republic of India, governed by a Constitution which enshrines the
fundamental rights and freedoms of Indian citizens, irrespective of caste,
colour, race or creed, as a senior concerned citizen who has served my
country for 50 years in various capacities.
You are a leader respected nationally and internationally. You travel
around the world, calling on world leaders, including His Holiness
the Pope, in Rome, proclaiming that India is a free democratic secular
state. Your speeches and statements have been praised and extensively
reported on, by the global media. Unfortunately, the reality on the ground
here, presents a stark contrast to the image you project of India to the
global community, especially in the context of minority rights and
secularism.
Mr. Prime Minister, across India, highly organised and militant right
wing extremist groups are terrorising, attacking and killing innocent
citizens in the name of religion. I am appalled at the recent, widely
reported statements, made by some religious leaders calling for genocide
of non-Hindus, in order to create a Hindu Rashtra. What is even more
shocking, is that there is no response or action either by your Central
Government, or the State Government that’s controlled by the BJP, of
which you are the undisputed leader, or the local administration, to crack
down firmly on this virulent, toxic, hate speech, designed to create
insecurity and fear amongst millions of minorities, who live here in the
country.

From the early days of our freedom struggle, Muslims, Sikhs and
Christians and indeed those from many other religious sects and
denominations have fought shoulder to shoulder with our Hindu brothers and
sisters, to win our freedom and defend our motherland. My parents-in-law
the late Joachim and Violet Alva, were freedom fighters who went to jail and
became the first couple in India’s Parliament, she also becoming Parliament’s
first woman Presiding officer. There are today thousands of minorities
serving the nation in all walks of life, in all parts ofthe country. Are we now
to be treated as second class citizens?
Mr. Prime Minister, how can you close your eyes and remain silent
when atrocities on India’s minorities are mounting? Your silence
Mr. Prime Minister, is misread as tacit approval and encouragement to the
ever increasing violence and intimidation India’s minorities are being
subjected to. When will you speak up and put a stop to this madness and
violence?
My home state of Karnataka, where I was born and brought up, has
boasted of a peaceful inclusive environment, that has drawn people from all
over the world. This Christmas, the State BJP government has gifted us the
draconian “The Karnataka Protection of Right of Freedom of Religion Bill”
in “recognition” of our services, which has provisions that have been
previously struck down by courts and are clearly violative of the Indian
Constitution. It makes all minorities, our institutions, practices, services and
charities suspect. Personal liberties of privacy, of religion, of marriage, and
decision making, are taken away, and the state becomes the arbiter of our
personal lives, making us subject to probes, charges, and jail by the state and
its officials, who will interpret the provisions of the law and imprison us
without trial.

We Christians are a disciplined, non-violent, service oriented
community. If we were involved in mass conversions, why is our number
under 3%? 200 years of rule by Christian colonial powers and work by so
called “missionaries involved in forced conversions” should have shown in
our numbers, which have been declining. Why then this false propaganda
and violence against us? The work of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, for the
poor, the sick and the abandoned,all over the world was hailed by
Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji and Advaniji, and has brought honour and glory to
India. Even she and her sisters have not been spared, with their
funds frozen. Why?
Is this the India our freedom fighters fought for? Our Constitution
makers sought to create? And the Father of the nation dreamt of, when he
beseeched his countrymen to “wipe every tear from every eye”? Is this the
India we have struggled over 70 years, to build?
Rulers and Regimes down the ages have tried to anes and kill
Christianity but it has survived and reached all corners of the earth.
It cannot be wiped out in India. We are part of this nation’s fabric.
Indian blood flows in our veins and we are patriotic citizens who have, and
will continue to serve our people and help build our motherland.
History shows that Christianity has thrived and spread on the blood of
martyrs. Christ taught us to love our enemies, do good to those who
would harm us and forgive those who would kill us. This we will do, as we
pray each day “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.M

ay Jesus Christ bless you my Prime Minister and guide you in

your ways. May the love, joy and peace of Christmas remain with us all
through the New Year.
Shri Narendra Modi
Prime Minister
Government of India
South Block, Raisina Hill
New Delhi-110 011.
Yours sincerely, ohby-2 a
(MARGARET ALVA)
Former Governor & Union Minister