Hindu Leader Demands All Christians Leave India in Publicized Video

June 1, 2018 by Lindy Lowry in Asia

Over the last three years, India has jumped from #25 on 2015’s World Watch List to #15 in 2017 and is now at #11–on the cusp of being among the world’s top 10 most dangerous countries to be a Christian today. The 2011 census in India found that Christianity is India’s third most followed religion, with approximately 63 million believers today. 

In a video being widely circulated on social media, a controversial Hindu leader has called for Christians to leave India in a video that shows a group stomping on images of Pope Francis.

The video, posted on May 26, shows Hindu leader Om Swami Maharaj and a group of around 20 people carrying placards and banners with pictures of Pope Francis, near the Sacred Heart Cathedral in New Delhi, reported Catholic news site UCAN.

In the video, Maharaj spread on the ground a banner featuring a picture of the pope and then, with several others, stomped on it. Slogans of “Pope Francis murdabad” (Down with Pope Francis) were shouted.

The Hindu leader accuses Indian Christians of promoting terrorism and Maoism and demands that they leave India. He adds that if Christians don’t exit voluntarily, they will be expelled by force.

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Christians Respond

The blatant video has grabbed the attention of Christian groups in central India who have reported it to police, asking them to stop its circulation.

Richard James, spokesman for the Rashtriya Isai Mahasangh, the ecumenical national Christian forum based in the state of Madhya Pradesh, said the police have been alerted to the video.

“This kind of public display of hate toward any religious group or leader would not be allowed in a civilized society,” James said.

Jaideep Prasad, inspector general of police in Bhopal (capital of India’s Madhya Pradesh state), said that his officers would “not allow anyone to spread discord among people with such videos,” but the video has not yet been taken down.

Last week, speakers at a conference marking four years of India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government called for concerted action to uphold the country’s constitution and fundamental rights.

Describing the current religious climate of India, Professor Ganesh Narayan Devy, a scholar on India’s religious and linguistic diversity, noted that anyone expressing a view contrary to Hindu nationalism was deemed “anti-national.”

The conference also heard how 2017 saw a 20 percent increase in the number of violent incidents against Christians.

8 things to know about PERSECUTION IN INDIA

The increase in persecution is a direct result of the ongoing Hindunization of India or Hindu nationalism—essentially, the belief that India must be a Hindu nation, and any other religion is not Indian. This radical nationalism has been spurred on by the political situation in India, which saw a nationalist government elected in 2014. The reasons for increased persecution are many:

In India, Open Doors is working through partners on the ground to strengthen the Church by providing aid like Christian literature, Bibles, pastoral training, legal aid, relief and more. Your support reminds them they are not alone–that they are part of God’s worldwide family.

Christian persecution is increasing worldwide—more than any time in modern history. And Open Doors is on the frontlines—with more than 60 years’ experience—standing with suffering believers to strengthen the church. Join us and stand with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Sign up here to receive news delivered to your inbox.