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ICC Note:

The Catholic Secular Forum has claimed that Christian persecution in India has seen a dramatic rise over the past year. According to the groups own research, they claim that persecution is up “at least 20%” in 2015. Many attribute this to the current federal government in India that is run by a Hindu nationalist party. Whether actively involved or not, Hindu radicals in India have increased their anti-Christian activities claiming that they have “tacit approval” from the federal government. Will 2016 bring another dramatic rise in persecution? 

1/18/2016 India (Times of India) – Citing 85 major incidents of alleged persecution of Christians across 20 states last year, a report by a minority and human rights NGO says 2015 saw an unprecedented spike in “intolerance” against the community. The report says on an average India saw one such incident of hate crime against Christians a day last year.

While the report terms Madhya Pradesh as the worst state, followed by Telengana and Uttar Pradesh for such attacks, it calls Maharashtra the ‘Hindutva capital’. Delhi too, the report says, is among the top 10 states that saw such incidents, with five Catholic churches vandalised and assaults on priests and community members.

The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) in its report claims that at least seven pastors were killed and 8,000 Christians (including 6,000 women and children) targeted in 2015. The report cites incidents from across the country — from Arunachal Pradesh, where suspected Hindutva fundamentalists attempted to attack Christians and whip up mass hysteria by quoting the Census 2011 data, and Chhatisgarh, where there is an alleged ban on religious activities other than of Hinduism, to Himachal Pradesh where the CPWD wrote off the Shimla CNI Church as a government property, and Tamil Nadu, where Bibles were thrown on the road to incite community members and create tension

“There is at least a 20% increase in the incidents in terms of the number of people victimized as against 2014. The real numbers are much higher as many don’t want to report such incidents as the police force is communal. Then we have incidents from areas where RSS is very dominant and victims are threatened to not report the attacks. In some cases the media is also biased. Being less in number, Christians can’t fight back,” says CSF general secretary Joseph Dias.

Claiming a significant rise in Hindutva ideology in 2015, the report claims that RSS and its 38 ideological affiliates have consolidated in almost every sphere of activity, and are “preparing to strengthen their hold on the country’s polity”. “With the BJP government in the Centre, there is huge increase in RSS shakhas. Even though there is no BJP government in Kerala, the state has the highest number of shakhas. West Bengal, whic has long been under communist rule and is now governed by liberal forces, BJP has a strong hold over five districts where reconversions are picking up. There is saffronisation of secular institution and in every sphere secular activities have been saffronised — be it in the northeast, Tamil Nadu, Kerala or Goa,” claims Dias.

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