10/30/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – Earlier this month, eight Christian families from India’s Chhattisgarh state were driven out of their village after refusing to convert to Hinduism and participate in a Ghar Wapsi ceremony organized by Hindu nationalists. The Christian families now face a social boycott by Hindu villagers, denying them access to the village’s water well, agricultural fields, and social events.
On October 15, the Christian families of Mattadi village, located in the Dantewada District, were called to a village meeting by village elders. At this meeting, the Christians were asked to convert to Hinduism and participate in a Ghar Wapsi program organized by the VHP.
When the Christians refused, a mob of Hindu villagers became very angry and physically attacked Budram, a Christian man from Mattadi. Following this incident, the Christian families fled Mattadi village and took shelter in a church located in a nearby village for eight days.
Upon the advice of police and promises of protection, the Christian families returned to Mattadi village on October 24. However, local Christians report they are now subject to a social boycott in which they are denied access to the village’s water well, agricultural fields, and social events.
“This situation has not improved at all,” Sanju, a Christian from Mattadi village, told International Christian Concern (ICC). “Although the police promised protection, we are living in fear and holding our lives in our hands.”
“The harassment continues to grow,” Sanju continued. “Elders of the village have told us that we cannot use anything of the village including water and fields for the crops.”
Across India, attacks on Christians and their places of worship have been increasing in both number and severity. In Chhattisgarh, hate speeches made by Hindu nationalist leaders and BJP politicians have fueled a hate campaign against Christians in the state’s tribal areas. With little resistance from local authorities, perpetrators of this hate campaign believe they have the tacit approval from the state to persecute Christians.
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