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10/16/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – According to a recent report by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Christians have endured 218 incidents of religiously motivated violence in 2019 so far. The vast majority of these incidents, 159 of 218, were reportedly perpetrated by “vigilante” mobs.

When compared to historical data, ADF’s report is both concerning and insightful. In 2014, 147 incidents of religiously motivated violence against Christians were documented. This comparison brings up a simple question, what has happened since 2014 that has led to this escalation in religiously motivated violence?

In 2014, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was voted into power. Using religiously divisive rhetoric that has labeled Muslims and Christians as dangerous foreigners, BJP politicians successfully polarized India along religious lines for political gain.

Unfortunately, the use of the rhetoric has had dire consequences for the country’s religious minority communities. According to the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), attacks on Christians have been steadily rising since the rise of the BJP in 2014. In 2017, 351 religiously motivated attacks on Christians were documented. In 2018, the latest data collected by EFI, 325 attacks were documented.

Reports regarding mob violence and lynchings bare similar comparison. According to criminal reports, 98% of “cow-related lynchings” that have occurred in India in the last 10 years have happened under the BJP’s rule. The majority of these attacks have affected the country’s Muslim population.

Although reports of increased religiously motivated violence continue to be documented, the BJP government has done little to curb the rising violence. Beyond vague statements regarding India’s commitment to the principal of religious freedom, no definitive action has been taken by the government to date.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].