India’s Christians Concerned by Government’s Attempt to Deny USCIRF Annual Report
- Pray that India will stop attempting to deny the report on the country’s religious freedom violations
- Pray against the use of India’s conversion programs known as “Ghar Wapsi’s” that are used to forcefully convert Christians
- Pray for the Christian communities across India that have faced a sharp increase in harassment and violence in the last year
(Morning Star News) – The number of incidents against Christians in India has increased 55 percent since Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi became prime minister in May 2014, according to figures from the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI).
During a protest by religious minorities near India’s Parliament House on Thursday (March 19), rights activist and Christian leader John Dayal said there have been 168 incidents against Christians in Modi’s first 300 days in power. That figure compares with 108 such cases in the 300 days before Modi took office on May 26, 2014, according to the EFI.
Cases ranged from false accusations of “forcible conversion” to desecration of church buildings to violent attacks on Christians.
“Illegal police detention of church workers and denial of constitutional rights of freedom aggravate the coercion and terror unleashed in hate speeches and campaigns of ghar wapsi [‘homecoming,’ or reconversions to Hinduism],” he said. “Since 2014, there has been a marked shift in public discourse.”
During the first 300 days of the Modi’s government coalition led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the state of Chhattisgarh topped the list of incidents against Christians with 28, followed by neighboring Madhya Pradesh with 26, Uttar Pradesh with 18 and Telengana, newly carved out of Andhra Pradesh, with 15, he said.
The tone set by Modi’s National Democratic Alliance government has emboldened Hindu extremists in several parts of the country to attack non-Hindus, Christian leaders say. Coercion to convert to Hinduism continues.
“The fact that Christmas celebrations of 2014 in India were sought to be diluted by the government’s call to observe ‘Governance Day’ on the day most sacred to the Christian community in India is a matter of great concern,” said the Rev. Dr. Richard Howell, general secretary of the EFI.
On Christmas Day, 20 Christians were arrested and police stopped four Christmas functions in separate incidents across the country, according to EFI.
About 2,000 people from 80 civil society groups participated in the protest in central Delhi, asserting that the secular nature of government has been regularly under attack as Hindu extremist assaults on religious minorities have jumped to alarming numbers.
Incidents included vandalizing, burning and robbing church buildings, burning Bibles, disrupting worship meetings and Christmas functions, beating pastors and evangelists and stopping church construction.
Of the anti-Christian incidents, Dayal said 54 percent came in the form of threats, intimidation and coercion, often with police looking on. Physical violence accounted for 24 percent of all cases, including 11 percent against Christian women. Breaking of statues and the cross and other acts of desecration were recorded in about 8 percent of the cases, “but many more were also consequent to other forms of violence against institutions,” Dayal said.
A pastor of Good Shepherd Community Church in New Delhi, Joshua David, told Morning Star News that at every Sunday worship meeting since Christmas day, two policemen have been posted outside his church.
“The Sangh Parivar and the present Bharatiya Janata Party government, which is part of the Sangh Parivar, do not believe in diversity and wish to have everyone follow their own dictates,” said Navaid Hamid, general secretary of the Movement for Empowerment of Muslim Indians. “The basic tenets of the Indian constitution – the secularism and the pluralism – therefore are constantly under attack, and minorities are a part of that.”
Please remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in India.
- Pray that India’s leaders will adhere to the protection of religious minorities.
- Pray for Christians in India, facing increased or constant pressures, including threats and violence.
- Pray as they stand up to the injustice against them.
- Pray they will remain peaceful.
- Pray for their faith to grow, to endure.
- Pray for them to be bold for Christ as they share the Gospel and grow the Church in India.
Christians Expose Persecution During 300 Days of Modi’s Rule in India
3/24/2015 India (ICC)
Christians of all denominations and Civil Society groups came together in New Delhi on March 19, to protest the past 300 days of Modi’s rule. Modi has failed to restrain hate and violence against religious minorities, specifically Christians and Muslims, in various states of India. Instead, the civil society has responded to these religious minorities with unbridled targeted hate and violence with near complete impunity.
- Pray that the peaceful co-existence of religious minorities will be achieved in India through the peaceful protests held by Christians and members of the civil society
- Pray that the Indian government and Prime Minister Modi will finally put an end to the violence against Christians
Here are some examples of this persecution:
Pastor Daniel lives among fanatical RSS members who do not want to see Hindus converting to Christ. They mount smear campaigns against him. He asks that we pray their hearts will be changed and that suffering will win others.
Pastor Aswath Paul has been threatened by upper-caste Hindus and beaten up. He identifies with his Lord and says we must proclaim the truth whatever the cost.
Pastor Joshua is from an upper-caste Hindu background and was so sick with drugs and alcohol he nearly died but he came to Christ and then opposition from family began but his mother was saved. He also has been threatened but is undeterred.
You can imagine many believers are fearful these days.