Christians in India face attacks
Indian Christians take part in Christmas prayers at St. Mary's Basilica church in Bangalore, India, 25 December 2021. EFE-EPA/FILE/JAGADEESH NV

Christians in India face attacks


New Delhi, Dec 14 (EFE).-

Areport released on Thursday by an advocacy group said Christians in India faced at least two attacks daily, shedding light on the alarming rate of violence against religious minorities in one of the most dangerous countries on the planet for Christians.

From January to November 2023, the United Christian Forum (UCF) said it had received reports of 687 incidents of violence against Christians in 23 states of India.

“(This) is little over two incidents a day in a secular and democratic country,” the advocacy group said.

Out of the total incidents, 531 incidents took place in four north Indian states – Uttar Pradesh with 287 incidents, 148 in Chhattisgarh, 49 in Jharkhand, and 47 in Haryana – all ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The advocacy group said the country witnessed “a sharp increase in targeted violence against Christians since 2014” when the BJP formed the federal government before winning its second term five years later.

Picture this.

At least 147 incidents of violence against Christians occurred in 2014, the advocacy group said. It recorded 177 incidents in 2015, 208 in 2016, 240 in 2017, 292 in 2018, 328 in 2019, 279 in 2020, 505 in 2021, 599 in 2022, and 687 in 2023.

“In almost all incidents reported across India, vigilante mobs comprising religious extremists have been seen to either barge into a prayer gathering or round up individuals that they believe are involved in forcible religious conversions,” the advocacy said.

“With impunity, such mobs criminally threaten and/or physically assault people in prayer, before handing them over to the police on allegations of forcible conversions.

Some states saw well-orchestrated attacks on Christians, it said.

In 2022, the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh saw over 1000 tribal Christians displaced from their homes and villages.

This year, Manipur saw the worst violence, with 175 dead and over 1,000 people severely injured. Over 5,000 cases of arson and 254 churches were burnt and vandalized.

India ranks as the 11th worst country on earth for the persecution of Christians in the annual ranking by Open Doors, a non-denominational Christian group supporting persecuted Christians worldwide.

“India is a diverse, democratic country with religious equality enshrined in law—but in 2023, in some states, it’s a scary place to be a Christian,” according to Open Doors.

The group recalled the proliferation of the Hindutva ideology, which “believes only Hindus are true Indians and that Christians, Muslims, and other religious minorities have ‘foreign’ roots and must be expelled.”

“Hindu extremists seem able to attack others with impunity, even using extreme violence in some parts of the country,” said Open Doors. EFE

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