CHRISTIANS in BJP-ruled states in India are at an increased risk of persecution as a result of the expansion of anti-conversion laws. Churches and Christian schools have been vandalised, and there have been specific assaults on pastors and nuns.
Hindu organisations have reportedly upped their violence against Christians in Chhattisgarh, according to a report by The Guardian. In the Surguja district of Chhattisgarh, the Sarva Sanatan Hindu Raksha Manch organised a sizable protest march on October 1, 2021. The “protest” was in response to the allegedly rising numbers of Hindus being coerced into converting to Christianity and Islam.
The government denied any “targeted” attacks on Christians earlier before the Supreme Court of India and charged Christian organisations who brought a case on behalf of the public interest with harbouring ulterior motives.
In July 2022, Pastor Satish Kumar and his family in Haryana were invited to a 6-year-old girl’s birthday party. For him and his family, the happy occasion quickly turned into a nightmare. A Bajrang Dal mob, a Hindu militant organisation connected to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, accused him of coercing conversion to Christianity.
In India, at least 127 incidents of violence against Christians were reported in the first 103 days of 2022, according to a survey by the United Christian Forum, a human rights group that advocates the rights of Christians. By the end of the year, this number may have surpassed the previous record high. According to UCF, which gathers the statistics via a phone hotline, 2021 saw the largest number of physical attacks on Indian Christians on record, with 486 attacks, an 80% rise over 2020.
“When a gang of men stormed into the house and began assaulting me, we had just started cutting the cake,” Kumar recalled. “They carried me out of the house while singing Jai Shri Ram”. My Bible was stolen and burned right in front of me,” he claimed.
Attempting to deny Muslims and Christians the ability to vote, right-wing Hindu organisations published a 32-page draft constitution of a Hindu nation in August 2022.
On August 28, three persons were detained in the small village of Harchandpur in Rae Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, on suspicion of attempting to convert people forcibly.
The three, Ramvati, Dashrath, and Raghuveer, claim that on that day, activists from Hindutva groups swarmed their church, ostensibly in protest at the trio’s “conversion attempts.”
The same complaint was made to the police by Hindutva organisations.
According to the United Christian Forum, which gathered data based on distress calls it received on its hotline numbers, as many as 302 attacks on Christians occurred in the first seven months of 2022.
Even though Christians make up only 2.3% of India’s population, certain Hindu fundamentalist organisations view them as a threat and a representation of colonial, foreign religion. Although British missionaries assisted in the development of Christianity in various regions of India, Christianity has been practiced in south India since the first century, when the Apostle Thomas, according to tradition, founded churches in Kerala.
The size of the Christian population in relation to the country’s total populace has either remained constant or shrunk since 1971, according to the available census statistics. According to the 1971 census, Christians made up 2.6% of India’s population. This percentage decreased to 2.3% by 2001.
Although the religious breakdown of the 2011 census data has never been made public, leaked data has shown that the community’s number has continued to shrink.
On December 27, The News Minute reported that unidentified assailants broke a statue of Baby Jesus in a church in Karnataka and stole money from the donation box. The incident took place in Periyapatna, about 85 km outside of Mysuru City.
The criminals reportedly entered the church after breaking open its back door.
Later, Indian Express claimed that the neighbourhood experienced tension as a result of the vandalism. Theft is probably the motivation, Mysuru Superintendent of Police Seema Latkar told reporters. He claimed that the situation was being looked into by special teams.