Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

The World Council of Churches (WCC), along with its member churches in India and the fellowship of Christians all over the world, expressed deep sadness and concern over the ongoing communal mob violence in the northeast district of Delhi, which since 23 February, has led to more than 20 deaths, hundreds of injuries, and destruction of properties, with places of worship being desecrated and destroyed.

“In a context where religion is being wrongly invoked as a basis for violence, we pray that hate-mongering and hostility will be replaced by peace, justice, reconciliation and healing,” said WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. “Our thoughts and prayers are with communities and families who have lost their loved ones or have been hurt, in this violence.”

Tveit continued: “It is our prayer that at this point in history India, which has a long history of peaceful co-existence of people of different faiths, will uphold its secular and democratic foundations and the much cherished values of harmony and 'ahimsa' (nonviolence), which have sustained its social fabric,” he said. “In the midst of the escalation of violence, we pray that the authorities, lawmakers and police can govern justly, maintain the rule of law, and protect the vulnerable people and their livelihood.”

Tveit further urged the joint and committed efforts of all religious communities and people of good will to overcome feelings of hatred and bitterness. “As many Christians prepare to usher in the period of Lent on this Ash Wednesday we pray for our member churches in India,” he said. “As we commemorate the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ; let us in the light of the cross, the sign of hope, persevere as peacebuilders, confident that violence will not have the last say.”

Statement from the National Council of Churches in India

Full statement from the WCC general secretary

Member churches in India