India: 525 Incidents Of Violence Against Christians Reported in First Eight Months Of 2023; Excluding Manipur Violence

A recent report reveals gruesome rise in incidents of anti-Christian persecution in India. The number of incidents reported so far this year has surpassed total number of incidents reported in 2022. The United Christian Forum released a report detailing the disturbing figures however, the ongoing incidents of anti-Christians violence in Manipur were excluded.

New Delhi based organisation reported that from January till August this year, a total of 525 violent incidents against Indian Christians have been reported thus far in 2023. The figures are already greater than 505 anti-Christians incidents reported in 2022. The figures indicate worrying rise in the Christian persecution in India. Notably the report dis not included the incidents from Manipur where Tribal Christians are being targeted and killed by the Meiti tribesmen due to communal clash erupted since 03 May 2023.

According to an international watchdog Open Doors, India grasped 11th position on a list of top 50 worst anti-Christians persecuting countries in the world. Recently past few years have witnessed a big increase in Hindutava-an ideology that beleievs that only Hindus are true Indians and rest of the faiths including Christians, Muslims and others have foreign roots and must be expelled. The ideology combined with religious extremisim has inbred violent attacks on religious minorities in some parts of the country. Hindu radicals can continue their attacks unabated, and the level of impunity is very high. Hindu radicals continue their attacks unabated, and the level of impunity is very high.

Christians in India prone to most risk are those who have come to Christian faith from a Hindu background. In some parts of the country, Christian converts face constant pressure to return to Hinduism and the retribution may include social exclusion, discrimination at work, physical assaults and even murder. Most vulnerable are the pastors; being a pastor in some parts of India is one of the riskiest vocations in the country today. Hindu extremists target them, their wives and children. Pastors are accused of forcibly converting people to Christianity and therefore are subjected to face violent attacks.

Over the years, increasing number of states in India are adapting the anti-conversion laws. These laws are supposedly enforced to prevent Hindus being forcibly converted to other religions but in reality these laws are often misused to intimidate and harass Christian missionaries and pastors. Missionaries if found distributing aid among the poor are accused of proselytizing. In some parts of the country, house churches are considered places of conversions. The situation for Christians in India has not improved since past year but is expected to escalate in the face of ongoing violence in Manipur.

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