09/15/2023 India (International Christian Concern) — According to a report published by the United Christian Forum (UCF), violent attacks against Christians in India are up by nearly four percent over last year, in just the first eight months of 2023.
These violent incidents, including arrests of pastors, physical violence, social boycotts, and forced conversions, have left believers around the country in a panic, wondering if they might be the next target.
The UCF reports over the last several years reveal a trend: Year after year, violence against the Christian minority in India is increasing at an alarmingly steady rate. Increases in this targeted violence were especially bad in 2021, nearly doubling reports from the previous year.
Much of this violence originates with vigilante groups of the Hindu faith – about 80 percent of the population is Hindu compared to 2 percent for Christianity — who are allegedly receiving support from government officials. Persecution of Christians and other religious minorities has skyrocketed since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) took power in 2014.
The radical Hindu groups have been instigating violent mobs, and arresting Christians under false pretenses. The hundreds of believers currently in jail because of this persecution are accused of forcing conversions, though there is no evidence of any such activity.
The Indian government is attempting to regulate these alleged ‘forced conversions’ by enacting anti-conversion laws, which have now been implemented across eleven states. Although the government insists that these laws do not pose a threat to Christian believers, radical Hindu nationalists still run rampant, misusing these laws to harass, intimidate, and imprison them.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recommended that India be designated as a Country of Particular Concern, saying that the government has “promoted Hindu nationalist policies resulting in systemic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”
International Christian Concern (ICC) has also highlighted the persecution of Christians and cited India’s government in its annual Persecutor of the Year report.
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