India’s Southern State Hit With Series of Persecution Incidents

ICC Note: Extremism and anti-Christian attacks have spread into India’s Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states. Both states, located in southern India, have been relatively calm as compared with other northern states were persecution incidents are common. Will Telangana and Andhra Pradesh continue to suffer growing anti-Christian extremism?

08/05/2018 India (World Watch Monitor) – Religious freedom advocate ADF India has noted a rise in incidents of religiously motivated violence in India’s two Telugu language-speaking southern states, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, including the brutal murder of an elderly Christian woman.

So far this year, ADF India says it has verified 17 incidents of anti-Christian persecution at the hands of Hindu extremist groups, all taking place within or close to Hyderabad, which is the Telangana state capital and also the de jure capital of Andhra Pradesh.

Telangana state was formed after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, the same year when Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was voted to power. Since then, there has been a marked increase in anti-Christian sentiment across India, as World Watch Monitor has reported.

“Although the state governments – both Telangana Rashtra Samiti in Telangana and Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh – do not openly support Hindu fundamentalism, most of their party workers at ground level belong to either RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] or any of its affiliates,” an ADF India volunteer told World Watch Monitor on condition of anonymity. “The secular image they flaunt is only for vote-bank politics.

“BJP has spread its wings to non-BJP ruling states as well. This is the reality. Telangana felt safe and calm till June. In just a few weeks, everything changed.”

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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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