Since the Hindu nationalist party BJP won a landslide victory in India in May this year, Christians and other religious minorities have endured a new wave of persecution. Across India, over 600 separate attacks have been perpetrated in just four months, marking a major escalation in anti-Christian violence. The radical Hindu groups are enjoying near complete impunity under the new government, leading many Christians to fear for the future of their faith in India.
9/18/2014 India (Ecumenical News) – International Christian Concern has warned that Sangh Parivar, an umbrella Hindu nationalist group, is leading attacks on Christians in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
Believers are worried that the persecution will escalate as the attack is likened to what the Islamic State terror is doing in Iraq and Syria, ICC reported on September 8.
“There has been a sharp rise in hate campaigns against Christians by political organizations.
“This threat of purging Christians from villages extends from Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh to now Uttar Pradesh, and to the borders of the national capital of New Delhi,” said John Dayal, a member of the Indian government’s National Integration Council.
The attacks range from churches being turned into Hindu temples to mobs attacking Christian houses.
ICC reported an incident that happened in July in which a church in Sahakarinagar village was attacked by 25 Hindu extremists. They beat the pastor, together with several members of the church.
Rev. RC Paul, who was leading a Bible study at the church at the time said, “We were shaken and are very scared of the situation in the area.
“We are concerned of our safety, even going alone outside looks very dangerous at the moment.”
The Open Doors rights′ group says religious intolerance among the majority Hindus in India is on the rise as they continue to push a ‘Hindutva’ ideology through political parties such as the ruling BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party).
The ICC concurs, saying, “Without drastic change, this difficult situation will likely only get worse, as radical Hindu nationalist groups popping up across India have been given almost complete impunity under the new Hindu nationalist government led by BJP and Narendra Modi.”
Persecution of Christians has worsened in many parts of India.
Christian Headlines reported that Indian village councils have passed new laws making Christian prayer, meetings, and evangelism illegal in 50 towns.
“In some places, the passing of the resolution has been followed by attacks on pastors and pulling down of village churches,” said Aneesh Andrews, a Methodist district superintendent.
New Delhi Archbishop Anil J. Couto has also raised concern at the rising attacks on Christians.
“It is very disturbing, and we request local authorities to take adequate measures to book the miscreants threatening to weaken the social fabric of this great nation,” Couto said.