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4/2/2024 India (International Christian Concern) The Central Indian state of Chhattisgarh tops the list of Indian states with the highest number of attacks against Christians so far this year, according to a press release from United Christian Forum (UCF). 

A total of 161 incidents of violence against Christians have been reported from January through March 15 via the helpline of the New Delhi-based civil society organization, which focuses on Christians in India. Of this number, 47 incidents of violence and discrimination were reported from Chhattisgarh. 

Across India, there were 70 incidents of violence against Christians in January, followed by sixty-two incidents in February, according to the press release. Another 29 incidents occurred during the first 15 days of March. 

The incidents include a wide range of violence, including attacks on churches and prayer meetings, physical assaults, harassment, ostracization, limiting access to community resources, and false allegations, particularly those pertaining to “forced conversions.” 

Painting a grim picture of how Christians are being harassed and intimidated in Chhattisgarh, the UCF stated that Christians have been denied access to water from community water sources like handpumps. 

In some cases, dead Christians have been denied burial, and local Hindu villagers then threatened to cremate the bodies as a final act of Ghar Wapsi or “homecoming,” where Hindus who have converted to Christianity are converted back to Hinduism.  

Meanwhile, in Uttar Pradesh (UP), police have filed false cases of forced conversion against pastors, even for praying at birthday parties and other social gatherings, the UCF stated. 

The UCF helpline has recorded more than 30 cases of pastors arrested or detained under UP’s controversial Freedom of Religion Act. 

UCF’s release said that Christians are facing varying degrees of violence and discrimination in 19 of India’s 28 states. A total of 122 Christians have either been detained or arrested on false allegations of forced conversions in just 75 days of 2024. 

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