Reuters-Modi-and-obama-by-jim-bourgIndian Christians from across denominations have formed a legal-aid agency, complete with a telephone hotline number, to respond to increasing attacks that have followed the rise of Hindu nationalists to national power. The United Christian Forum for Human Rights was formed Jan. 19 “to coordinate both legal and advocacy assistance to the community, which has been traumatized in recent months by communal violence in several states,” said John Dayal, a prominent Christian activist and spokesperson for the new group, in a statement to World Watch Monitor. Harassment of India’s Christians has increased since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, swept parliamentary elections in May 2014. The new initiatives have been assembled ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to India. Asked whether the flurry of anti-Christian violence would figure on Obama’s agenda, the new Forum Secretary Rev. Vijayesh Lal said, “We have to speak up for ourselves.” Four days before the U.S. President arrived, the Catholic Church urged the government “to uphold the secular character of India.” This plea emerged from a meeting of India’s top Catholic Church leadership. More