05/31/2022 India (International Christian Concern) – ICC has been made aware of multiple incidents of harassment and false imprisonment in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in recent weeks. A pastor and his wife were arrested after a mob of 100 radicals harassed them and their congregation during a worship service at their Church in the Azamgarh district. In another case, two pastors were visiting the home of a fellow Christian when an onlooker complained to the police that they were engaging in conversion activities. The two were arrested. In a third case, two Christians were attacked and arrested while teaching the Bible in the Lakhimpur Kheri district.
Harassment, attacks, and false imprisonment against Christians have escalated alarmingly in Uttar Pradesh. While the pastors suffer behind bars, the families of the wrongly convicted suffer on the outside. A Christian leader in the region, who requested to remain anonymous, told ICC that he is aware of 16 Christians currently imprisoned in the state. He lamented, “when the breadwinner in the family is arrested, the whole family suffers, as many pastors in the rural areas do not have reserves, and the family survival becomes difficult.” The persecution taking place in UP is unprecedented. The Christian community in the region is becoming increasingly afraid of the severe consequences of practicing their faith.
Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in India, and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that governs the state has overseen mounting discrimination and physical violence by radicals targeting the Christians. Religious freedom for the minority Christian population of India is progressively being constricted. In these dire circumstances, we pray for the Christians being persecuted in Uttar Pradesh and throughout India.
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