Hindunization Leads to More Anti-Christian Violence
If the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) has its way, India will soon be unified under one religion, one culture, and one language.
Non-Hindu People Are Being Targeted.
Of course, in order for this to happen, all other religious communities–including Christians–would have to be eliminated. According to the RSS organization’s founder, M.S. Golwalker, that is exactly the plan. “The non-Hindu people in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and revere Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but the glorification of the Hindu religion, that is they must not only give up their attitude of intolerance and ingratitude towards this land and its age-long tradition but must also cultivate the positive attitude of love and devotion instead; in one word they must cease to be foreigners or may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment not even citizen’s rights.”
Persecution Is on the Rise.
As reported earlier this year, the first quarter of 2017 saw 248 persecution incidents wherein Christians were harassed, threatened or attacked for their faith. More recent records indicate the number of incidents in first six months of 2017 is now up to 410 incidents. This represents an enormous increase in persecution as there were only 441 incidents reported in 2016 for the entire year.
These attacks can often be brutal. “When the Christians are beaten by the extremists, they receive injuries mostly on their heads or their vital body parts. The assaulters do not care if the person dies in the attack. They know that they will not be punished because the Government (and hence the judiciary) will take their side. In most of the cases the assaulters go unpunished,” One local OD partner reports.
Citizens Fear Losing India’s Identity.
Often, assaults are driven by fear that India will lose its national identity if Christians convert too many citizens. One Christian leader who converted from Hinduism a few years ago, describes his experience this way. “Before I converted to Christianity, I used to be a staunch Hindu. I also joined RSS Party at that time and started working with them. The party upholds Hindutva ideology and believes that if the Christians in India aren’t controlled they would convert all the Hindus in the country and Hindutva (which is the main religion in India) would lose its identity. Hence RSS wants to work their best to stop Christians from preaching about their faith in India. They would go any extremes for that. I myself persecuted many Christians until I came to Christian faith and realized what I had been doing.”
Beyond Physical Violence
In addition to beatings, there were also 37 incidents where Christians were socially boycotted. Others, according to 34 incident reports, were forced to leave their homes. Amongst these 34 cases, 14 of the incidents forced Christians to leave their village or cities entirely.
The increase in persecution incidents in India had never been so remarkable. Though the current ruling party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) talks about unity in the country, it is considered the political wing of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh).
The federal prime minister is part of the BJP and he categorically denies Christians or other minorities are being persecuted. During a television show he said he has no knowledge of the burning of churches or other types of persecution.
The Plan to Eliminate Christianity
This is tragically ironic, perhaps, since it’s well known the RSS intends for India to be ‘free of Christians by 2020.’
To accomplish their goal of bringing Christians under one Hindu religion in the next few years, extremists follow these five steps:
- The pastor is chased out of the community. Church members are not allowed to contact him or to leave their villages and worship with other believers.
- The extremists prevent Christians from participating in the society. They are not allowed to have a government job, trade, draw water from the well, buy food and other products from local stores or to even to talk to other people in the village.
- As the numbers show, physical violence happens more frequently too. Families are threatened, Christians are beaten up, girls and women may be raped, children may be kidnapped (e.g. Reena’s case).
- At some point, the Hindu priest will come to indoctrinate the Christians, to remind them that they were born as Hindus and to persuade them to come back to the religion of their community.
- If they still resist, they are often forcibly taken from their house, pushed into a Hindu procession and dragged to a temple. There they have to bow to idols, recite scriptures and often get smeared with cow dung and/or cow urine (to ‘cleanse’ them).
A Call for Help
The situation for Christians is obviously very bleak–enough so that One Open Doors spokesperson is issuing a call for help. “India used to be an example of religious freedom and tolerance. We call upon India and the international community to do everything in their power to protect the millions of people who are persecuted because of their faith. The hate campaigns should stop and police should act against anyone who harms another person because of his or her faith.”
Open Doors and its partners currently support tens of thousands of Indian Christians each year. We deliver Bibles and Christian materials, provide training, and contribute to community development through adult literacy programs, vocational education, bridge schooling for children, and urgent aid and relief for persecuted Christians. Open Doors also provides legal seminars and field advocacy to help the victims of persecution. You can click here to donate to Open Doors’ work in India.