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ICC Note: Pressure against Christians in India is growing as the 2019 national elections approach. Persecution under the BJP-led government has dramatically risen with Christians being attacked 351 times in 2017 according to the Evangelical Fellowship of India. This pressure has caused many churches to slow down and cancel many of their activities.  

06/18/2018 India (Mission Network News) – Political tensions in India are rising, and nationalists are pushing for a Hindu government. As the situation escalates, Joe Handley of Asian Access says Christians are feeling the fallout.

“The government is putting pressure on Christian churches so that they’ll slow down their activities,” Handley says. “In some areas, workers have been killed, prosecuted, and pressured, and it’s pretty significant in some of the regions that are more dangerous.”

Thanks to the nature of their work, not much pressure has been directed at Asian Access.

“We come alongside not just pastors and NGO leaders but also businesspeople,” Handley explains. “In fact, we just had a session in the north part of India with some of the top business leaders in the country.”

However, even though they can still encourage, equip, and empower, the people they’re sending out are running into problems.

“We want to retain the ability to be able to serve the body of Christ in the country,” Handley says. “We definitely need your prayer, because our folks are feeling it, and they’re saying we need to be more and more cautious as we do the work we do.”

Thankfully, Handley doesn’t things have escalated to the level of life-threatening persecution. However, the pressure is building against Asian Access and their partners.

“When you talk about pressure, that’s more along the lines of a threat,” he says. “Instead of actually being killed, someone might call you and say ‘You need to stop what you’re doing or we’ll take out your daughter. We know where she goes to school.’”

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