Nagaland Church runs communal campaign against BJP as development plank gets more takers

Report from Shillong: Upset over the rising popularity of BJP in the Christian-majority state of Nagaland, Baptist Church groups have unleashed a violent and communal campaign against the saffron party to stop its march in its track in the coming elections. The BJP’s development slogan has found many takers and the party has managed to build a cadre base in the state. Its strategy of forging alliances with regional parties has also helped it emerge as a major player in the state.

Sensing that the people are increasingly getting swayed by the development narrative put forth by the BJP, the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC), the apex body of the Baptist congregation, has asked Christians to choose between the “trishul” and “cross”. It has also asked the people not to be swayed by those whose “hands seek to pierce the heart of Jesus Christ”.

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Seeking to communalise the atmosphere, the NBCC has evoked faith and asked the Christians and political parties to isolate and shun the BJP. In an open letter, addressed to all political parties, NBCC general secretary Rev Dr Zelhou Keyho has urged the political parties not to surrender their “Christian principles”. He further said Nagaland was a Christian-majority state and that, although Nagas had failed in their testimony time and again, they had the opportunity as leaders to show the distinction.

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Keyho told leaders that “running for political offices for development was only half their task” as their other duty was to protect and “safeguard their Christian faith and principles, which the people hold dear.” He said God must be weeping to see Naga politicians running after those seeking to destroy Christianity in India.

Endorsing NBCC’s call, another Baptist group, the Angami Baptist Church Council (ABCC), has asked to oppose the proponents of Hindutva in “Christian” Naga society. In a statement, ABCC Executive Director Rev V Atsi Dolie regretted that Angamis played a major role in “allowing entry” of RSS and BJP into Nagaland. “Today, the proponents of Hindutva are audaciously challenging our Christian faith, culture and values in a variety of ways for which we are largely responsible.”

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He said the tussle between solution or election has finally given its way to the election, at least for now, and hoped that the critical time would be seized to renew as well as strengthen our faith in God. He called upon Angami Christian candidates to “reaffirm their allegiance to Jesus Christ” and reminded them that it was their “bounden duty as Christians to safeguard and uphold the Christian faith”.

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