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07/27/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – A report recently published by the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) has documented 145 incidents of violence targeting India’s Christian community in just the first half of 2021. Entitled “Hate and Targeted Violence Against Christians in India: Half Yearly Report 2021”, EFI’s report claims that most incidents are perpetrated by non-state actors operating in an environment of targeted hate.

According to EFI’s report, three religiously motivated murders, 22 attacks on churches or places of worship, and 20 cases of ostracization or social boycott took place in the first six months of 2021. Madhya Pradesh state reported the most cases with 30 documented cases of violence. Uttar Pradesh came second with 22 documented cases. Both states recently enacted anti-conversion laws, likely inciting more incidents of violence against Christians.

EFI went on to claim the pandemic “seems to have given the police a ruse not to register cases” and that “access to courts for relief was restricted. The violence was also facilitated by the absence of civil society on the streets as activists were unable to travel because of lockdown restriction and because of the collapse of the media.

Since taking power in 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has overseen a political regime in which religious intolerance has become a social norm and attacks on minorities are tolerated, if not encouraged. In 2014, EFI recorded 147 incidents of violence targeting India’s Christians. The same number of incidents is now being reported in just six months in which strict lockdowns were enforced in many areas of India.

The incidents reported by EFI likely only represent a portion of the violence experienced by India’s Christian community. Most incidents go unreported due to fear of reprisal and a lack of confidence in India’s justice system. In many cases, representatives of India’s local law enforcement play important roles, either active or passive, in attacks on Christian individuals and communities.

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected].