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01/27/2022 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Since the rise of the ruling BJP party in India, pastors and Christians across the nation have experienced a surge in violence and harassment. In response, ICC has led Persecution Preparedness Training in India since 2016. ICC has trained pastors and Christian leaders from rural communities on how to avoid, mitigate, and manage instances of persecution.

ICC leads these trainings in hotspots of Christian persecution to equip and train Christians and pastors who are most in need.

In addition, ICC just launched an initiative to train and send out 200 church planters to grow the church in the second most populous country in South Asia. Candidates will participate in a yearlong training program that includes a mix of in-depth classroom instruction and fieldwork – to prepare them for a lifetime of ministry in India.

In 2021, attacks on Christians and their places of worship in India increased in number and severity.

In Chhattisgarh state, a recent spike in persecution can be attributed to a series of public rallies led by radical Hindu nationalists where hate speeches against Christians are common. In one speech, a nationalist leader even called for the beheading of Christian evangelists in Chhattisgarh.

In September, Pastor Ankush Bariayar was summoned to the Purani Basti Police Station in Raipur by the Station House Officer. According to local reports, Pastor Bariayar was falsely accused of engaging in illegal religious conversions by radical Hindu nationalists.

When Pastor Bariayar, accompanied by two other pastors, arrived at the police station, a mob of nearly 50 radical Hindu nationalists burst into the Station House Officer’s office and began to beat the pastor with shoes and fists.

“The entire thing happened as if it was well planned,” an eyewitness, who wished to remain anonymous, told ICC. “I think the police knew about the attack before it took place. It is sad that Christians are not safe even inside the police station.”

“They told me to my face that they would kill me,” Pastor Bariayar told ICC. “I thought I was safe, being with the police on their premises, but I was wrong. In the beginning, the police did not do anything to protect me from the attack. After they hit me with the shoe and punched me in my face, the police then tried to stop them from beating me.”

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