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ICC Note:

Christians across India are celebrating Christmas today amid tight security. Security forces were deployed by state governments ordered to protect Christian celebrations after a series of attacks made national and international headlines. Attacks on Christians and their places of worship have escalated dramatically in recent years. Many blame the current BJP-led government for not doing enough to condemn and punish the perpetrators of these attacks. Will the rest of this Christmas season be safe for Christians in India?

12/25/2017 India (ABC) – Christians and others in India celebrated Christmas despite fears of an anti-Christian backlash in some parts of the predominantly Hindu country.

The Indian government asked states to increase security for Christmas celebrations this year after recent isolated attacks on Christians in northern India. No new incidents had been reported as of late Monday.

Vigilante groups have targeted Muslims since a Hindu nationalist party came to power in India in 2014. Some Christian leaders fear the attacks may now be spreading to their community.

“The poison of polarization has now made Christians also a target,” said Madhu Chandra, the administrator of the All India Christian Council, a national alliance that works for religious freedom and the rights of marginalized people.

Earlier this month, members of a militant Hindu group allegedly beat up a group of Catholic seminarians and priests in Madhya Pradesh state.

Police arrested one member of the group, but also a priest, according to the Press Trust of India news agency. The priest was charged with forced religious conversion, an accusation frequently leveled against Christians in India.

In Uttar Pradesh state, an extremist Hindu organization warned schools in the city of Aligarh against holding Christmas festivities. State police were put on alert to ensure that festivities went on without incident, Indian media reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party doesn’t condone the violence against Muslims, Christians and others, but activists say it needs to do more to stop it.

[Full Story]

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