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ICC Note:

Attacks on Christians in India continued to skyrocket in 2017. According to World Watch List 2017 by Open Doors USA, India ranked as the 15th toughest nation in the world for Christians. This come only four years after India was only raked 31st in the same list. Much of the increased intolerance and violence can be attributed to the expanded operations of radical Hindu nationalist groups which has, for the most part, gone unchecked by the current BJP-led government. Will India continue on this negative trend? 

12/07/2017 India (Matters India) – There is a clear pattern of rising religious intolerance across the country, especially against the minorities.

According to the World Watch List 2017, India is now ranked 15th in the list of countries where the practice of the faith is a high-risk activity. We were ranked 31 only four years ago.

Out of 29 states in India, at least 19 regularly witness attacks on Christians. Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh tops the list with 36 incidents as on October 30, followed by Uttar Pradesh (26), Madhya Pradesh (21), Maharashtra (16).

Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand and West Bengal are the other states.

More than 700 cases of attacks on Christians were reported on the United Christian Forum (UCF) toll free helpline number 1800-208-4545 since 2014. Last year, 216 incidents were recorded and 203 incidents have already been reported by the end of October this year.

The happenings in Madhya Pradesh are suspected to be politically motivated attacks. On three separate occasions, Christian children traveling in a train for a Christian camp were taken into custody at railway stations by the Railway Police on the grounds that the children were being “kidnapped to be converted.”

On May 22 and 23, nine elders and a minor were arrested by the Railway Police when they were accompanying 71 Christian children for a summer Bible camp to Nagpur from Indore. On June `3, a Catholic nun and four girls were detained at the Satna railway station. On October 21, two elders and seven children going for Bible Studies were detained and not allowed to meet the parents.

There are various kinds of incidents against Christians. Most common among them is the Hindutva activists forcefully conducting Ghar Wapsi (drive to convert people back to Hinduism) ceremony. Some who refused to cooperate were beaten up and subsequently booked by the police under falsely-framed charges.

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For interviews with William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].