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India Facts

Score:83/ 100
Region:Asia
Persecution Type:Religious nationalism
Persecution Level:Extreme
Population:1,368,738,000
Christians:66,194,000
Main Religion:Hinduism
Government:Federal republic
Leader:Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Profile of Persecution

Violence 89%
Church Life 81%
National Life 90%
Community Life 81%
Family Life 78%
Private Life 77%

Hindu nationalism and attacks with impunity

Since the current ruling party took power in 2014, incidents against Christians have increased, and Hindu radicals often attack Christians with little to no consequences. The view of the Hindu nationalists is that to be Indian is to be Hindu, so any other faith—including Christianity—is viewed as non-Indian. Also, converts to Christianity from Hindu backgrounds or tribal religions are often extremely persecuted by their family members and communities.

How Christians are suffering

Christians in India face horrific levels of violence from extremists—thousands of attacks take place every year. Several states in India have adopted anti-conversion laws, and the ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made it clear that it wants to impose these laws nationwide. Such laws are often used as an excuse to disrupt church services and harass Christians, and make it incredibly difficult for Christians to share their faith with others.

Converts to Christianity from a Hindu background are especially vulnerable to persecution and are constantly under pressure to return to Hinduism, especially through campaigns known as Ghar Wapsi (“home-coming”). They are often physically assaulted and sometimes killed.

Examples

On January 9, 2019, hardline Hindus tore down a church building in Narnepadu village, Muppalla Mandal, Guntur District, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, because it was built on the west side of a village, which they claimed violated Hindu principles of placement and positioning. (Source: Morning Star News)

On April 10, 2019, a Christian tribal man was attacked with swords, sickles and iron sticks in the Indian state of Jharkhand. He was killed by a crowd of Hindu radical “cow protectors” on suspicion of having slaughtered an ox, considered sacred by Hindus. Three other tribal Christians were injured in the attack. (Source: AsiaNews)

On October 2, 2019 a Christian birthday celebration was attacked by Hindu radicals in Vasalamarry village, located 40 miles outside of Hyderabad in India’s Telangana state. According to local reports, the mob of 30 radical nationalists stormed into the Christian home where guests had gathered for the birthday celebrations. The radicals vandalized decorations, terrified the guests and destroyed several household items owned by the Christian family. (Source: International Christian Concern)

Population and number of Christian statistics: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2019).

 

Pray for India

  • Pray for provision and employment for Indian Christians. Christians tend to be in an unfavorable position, as they are often lacking in education and thus tend to find themselves in the lower strata of society.
  • Pray for God’s protection over Christians who boldly evangelize in the growing number of states with anti-conversion laws. Pray they will be wise in their evangelism efforts.
  • The work of Christian non-profits has suffered from the fact that it has been made very difficult to receive financial support from abroad. Pray for changes in rules and regulations.
  • Almost everyone in the country now has Internet access and as a result Christians and others have more access to Christian materials. However, Hindu hard-liners are attacking the Christian media, accusing them of evangelism. Pray people have freedom to access Christian materials online.

Stories from India

July 1, 2020

‘The risk is always there’: Rajesh on the cost of faith in India

An Open Doors partner, Rajesh, explains the reality of persecution for believers in India, and how God is faithful. Read More

+ READ MORE

June 30, 2020

‘Die of hunger or convert to Islam’—a life-or-death choice for Christians in COVID-19

Throughout the world, persecuted Christians are faced with a "die or convert" choice in the midst of the COVID-19 global crisis. Read More

+ READ MORE

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