‘Most violent year for Christians’ in India: Persecution watchdog

(Photo: EFI)

For Christians in India, 2021 was the “most violent year” in the country’s history, according to a report, which says at least 486 violent incidents of Christian persecution were reported in the year.

“In almost all incidents reported across India, vigilante mobs composed of religious extremists have been seen to either barge into a prayer gathering or round up individuals that they believe are involved in forcible religious conversions,” says the report by the United Christian Forum, which recorded 486 violent incidents of Christian persecution, topping the previous record of 328 incidents in 2019.

The UCF attributes the high incidence of Christian persecution to “impunity,” due to which “such mobs criminally threaten, physically assault people in prayer, before handing them over to the police on allegations of forcible conversions.”

Police registered formal complaints in only 34 of the 486 cases, according to the UCF, which added: “Often communal sloganeering is witnessed outside police stations, where the police stand as mute spectators.”

In 2021, the UCF recorded 274 incidents of violence against Christians in four states in north India alone: Uttar Pradesh (102), Chhattisgarh (90), Jharkhand (44) and Madhya Pradesh (38).

“There is also one Southern State which is also witnessing a high number of incidents of violence against Christians that is Karnataka with 59 incidents,” the report says.

Days before Christmas, Karnataka became the 10th state in India to pass an anti-conversion law, which presumes that Christians “force” or give financial benefits to Hindus to convert them to Christianity.

While some of these laws have been in place for decades in some states, no Christian has been convicted of “forcibly” converting anyone to Christianity. These laws, however, allow Hindu nationalist groups to make false charges against Christians and launch attacks on them under the pretext of the alleged forced conversion.

The law states that no one is allowed to use the “threat” of “divine displeasure,” meaning Christians cannot talk about Heaven or Hell, as that would be seen as “forcing” someone to convert. And if snacks or meals are served to Hindus after an evangelistic meeting, that could be seen as an “inducement.”

Courtesy of The Christian Post.