India listed again in top ten persecutors of Christians

By: Dibin Samuel
Saturday, 23 January 2010, 13:05 (IST)
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A Washington-based rights group has listed India as one of world's ten persecuting countries of Christians.

International Christian Concern (ICC) Thursday released its annual Hall of Shame report that calls attention to the trend of Christian persecution around the globe.

India is ranked with countries such as Eritrea, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and China where religious freedom has been suppressed and atrocities persisting on an alarming scale.

According to the report, India remains on the top ten worst persecutors list “due to constant violent attacks against Christians.”

"Sources indicate that in 2009, there was an average of three attacks per week against Christians. Although attacks are not comparable in intensity with other top ten countries, the scope of persecution in India is widespread and affects millions of believers," the report stated.

To substantiate, it cited the 2008 Orissa violence where dozens were murdered and over 50,000 displaced following the murder of a Hindu leader.

"Many Christians in Orissa are still unable to return to their homes due to threats issued by Hindu radicals forcing their conversion to Hinduism as a condition for their return. These Christians continue to suffer in refugee camps that lack housing, sanitation and food," ICC said.

In addition to violence, Christians also face discrimination from state and local officials.

"The states of Gujarat, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh enforce anti-conversion laws which restrict the freedom of Hindus to convert to other religions.

Jeff King, ICC President, laments that persecution of Christians has become a common occurrence and is rarely reported by the mainstream media.

He says, "Due to their faith, Christians endure harassment, discrimination, deportation, imprisonment, rape, torture, murder and other forms of persecution."

Interestingly, the report says Communist and former Communist states are becoming less antagonistic towards Christianity (North Korea being the exception). However, persecution continues to increase in Islamic countries.

Last year, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF, placed India on its Watch List for the country’s inadequate response in protecting religious minorities.

The federal commission’s watch list consists of countries with governments that tolerate "serious violations of religious freedom."

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Have your say on this article

Added: Saturday, 23 January 2010, 15:03 (IST)

Nobody cares, it is a Washington-based rights group. Ask Christians living in India on the scenario.

Anon, Chennai, India

Added: Saturday, 23 January 2010, 16:28 (IST)

India is a pluralistic society. The organisation that made this list is totally lacking memory of the history in India or the current status of religious communities.

John Varghese, Kerala, India

Added: Saturday, 23 January 2010, 20:38 (IST)

It is sad that India is enlisted among the countries for Christian persecution. By the total number of persecution in India, India got into the list, but in certain States of India, the number of persecution has decreased. On the other hand, some of the States where the BJP is in control like Karnataka, the rate of attacks on Christians and Churches have dramatically increased. But, the good news, more people hear Christ even through persecution.

A.S.Mathew, Ringgold, U.S.A.

Added: Saturday, 9 October 2010, 22:47 (IST)

It is sad to see India listed among top ten in persecuting Christians. my personal thought to this is: ' India should be more tolerant to religious independence of individual. religion is basically inner and personal need of an individual to unite oneself with the divine. it should be respected.

Anup, India

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