Christian communities – Catholic together with the Protestant faithful – have responded with conviction to the appeal launched by the Bishops’ Conference of India, which had asked to organize a day of prayer and fasting for March 22 in view of the general elections, whose long process will begin on April 14 and conclude, after seven voting stages, on June 1.

Fides Agency, of the Pontifical Mission Societies, gives an account: many are the prayer vigils organized by church groups and youth movements, India’s Franciscans have gathered to pray and fast together with Protestant faithful for an uninterrupted time of 51 hours, other Catholic communities scattered over the vast territory of the nation of the Indian subcontinent are dedicated to Eucharistic adoration. Thus the communities responded to the call to “unite in prayer for a continuous period of at least 12 hours,” in order to “bring our hearts closer to God’s will and offer our supplications for the purification of the Church and the good of our nation, through a time of deep spiritual reflection, penance and renewal for the entire Indian Church. Let us offer our sacrifices and prayers with open hearts to God’s will, trusting in his mercy and providence.”

Identifying some major issues agitating the country – poverty, economic development, unemployment, migration, social cohesion, religious polarisation in inter-community relations, among others – the Bishops expressed concern, at the last General Assembly last February, especially about episodes of religious polarisation that damage social harmony in the country, fuelling divisions, inciting hatred, eroding the pluralist philosophy that has always characterised India.

The large spontaneous participation in the initiatives reflects the people’s concern for peace, justice, and equal rights for all citizens, expressing a common desire for a more united and peaceful society.

According to the latest national census (2021), India’s population of 1.4 billion is 79.8% Hindu, while Muslims are 14.2% and Christians 2.3%.