Worst year for Christian persecution in India

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According to a recent article in the Sunday Telegraph, 2019 has been the worst year in memory for anti-Christian violence in India. There were a record 328 violent attacks on Christians, in which property and churches were often looted, burned or vandalised. Only 36 resulted in the police filing a case, while none has yet resulted in a prosecution.

This spike of violence is attributed to the rise of the Hindu nationalist government of Narenda Modi, who came into power in 2013. Although Hindus and Christians have lived in harmony for thousands of years (it is believed that St. Thomas first preached the Gospel in India in 52 A.D.), the opinion that to be Indian is to be Hindu is becoming increasingly popular.

Christians living on the subcontinent have reported that, “Hindu villagers have begun to exclude them from using their shops to buy food.” The Christians are also being told to “leave their communities or pay an illegal tax to stay, being refused access to village wells and having their crops repeatedly destroyed.”

The violence also takes a more organised form. RSS, an all-male paramilitary youth wing of Modi’s BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) have become known for large-scale attacks on Christians. Their weapons of choice are the lathi, which are heavy iron bars bound bamboo sticks. It is reported that their connections to BJP allow them to act with impunity.

Christians make up 2.3 per cent of the population of India, which traditionally has been relatively free from persecution. Today, India is the 10th most dangerous country in the world to be a Christian according to ADF, a Christian NGO.