02/06/2024 India (International Christian Concern) – Hindus in India are still celebrating and enthralled after the Jan. 22 inauguration of the Ram Mandir Temple believed to be the birthplace of their deity Rama. The recent dedication was led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who heralded the event as a symbol of Hindu pride and nationalism.
For Muslims, however, it was a reminder of their 16th century Babri Masjid mosque that stood on the same contentious site before it was destroyed by an angry Hindu mob decades earlier.
And for Christians, the new temple meant further persecution and a reminder of their low status in Indian society.
On the eve of the temple inauguration, saffron flags depicting Hindu deities were installed by Hindu nationalists on the roofs of four church buildings in Jhabua, a district in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
Sources say a mob of Hindu radicals forcefully entered the premises, chanting loudly in worship of their gods. The Christians were helpless in defending their places of worship from the aggressive and emotionally hyped-up mob that committed this desecration.
In a similar incident the same day, Hindu activists installed another saffron flag on the roof of the home of a pastor in the Gariyaband district of Chhattisgarh. The mob threatened the pastor, telling him not to remove the flag for fear of violent retaliation. Later that evening, the pastor was taken into custody and transported to the police station, where he was booked on false charges of creating a disturbance.
“There is an increased psychological fear and anxiety that every minority is feeling in this country,” a Christian who requested anonymity said. “No rule of law can help with this situation, and further, there is an unexplained hallow and suppression deep within every Christian over what is happening in this land. Only God can intervene.”
Last year was the most difficult year in recent Indian history for Christians, seeing more than 870 incidents of attacks against their communities and churches. This concerning trend is only getting worse despite religion being a fundamental right guaranteed in the Indian constitution.