Indian Christians Fear BJP Victory in 2019 Elections Will Legitimize Persecution

ICC Note: Christians in India fear a BJP victory in the 2019 general elections will legitimize attacks against their community and lead to more persecution. Since the BJP-led government took power in 2014, attacks on Christians and other religious minorities have skyrocketed. According to the Evangelical Fellowship of India, attack on Christians have increased from 144 in 2014 to 351 in 2017.

06/13/2018 India (FIRSTPOST) – With the 2019 general elections around the corner, several in the Christian community feel that another tenure for the current government will legitimize crimes against them and other religious minorities.

Recently, Open Doors, a Christian mission, enlisted 50 of the most unsafe countries for Christians, in which India was ranked 11th. The report published by Open Doors reads, “Because Hindu radicals view Christians as outsiders, they are experiencing increased persecution. These radicals are intent on cleansing the nation of both Islam and Christianity and employ violence to this end. Usually, converts to Christianity experience the worst persecution and are constantly under pressure to return to Hinduism.”

The report further says, “Campaigns known as Ghar Wapsi (or homecoming) are used to get Christians to denounce their newfound faith. These converts are often physically assaulted and sometimes killed for refusing to deny Christ. The government continues to look away when religious minorities are attacked, indicating that violence may continue to increase in the coming years.”

Tehmina Arora, who hails from Delhi and is an Indian representative of the Alliance Defending Freedom, says, “Christians are often blamed for trying to convert people by force or inducement, even though we form a minuscule population. Many new converts don’t share their new faith because they fear violence, either from their families, society or anti-social elements.”

“Many Christians, especially those who live in smaller towns and villages, are vulnerable,” she adds.

A study on violence against Christians by ADF — which recorded incidents of physical violence, threats/intimidation and restrictions on religious assembly received via the United Christian Forum helpline — shows that between January and April 2018 alone, there were 155 incidents. Last year, 242 incidents were recorded, and 216 were recorded in 2016. This is only a fraction of what the community is experiencing, she says, as many cases don’t get reported.

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For interviews with William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org

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