Federal parliamentary republic
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
The persecution of Christians in India is intensifying as Hindu extremists aim to cleanse the country of their presence and influence.
The driving force behind this is Hindutva, an ideology that disregards Indian Christians and other religious minorities as true Indians because they have allegiances that lie outside India, and asserts the country should be purified of their presence.
This is leading to a systemic, and often violent and carefully orchestrated, targeting of Christians and other religious minorities, including use of social media to spread disinformation and stir up hatred.
The COVID-19 pandemic has offered a new weapon to persecutors. In some areas, Christians have been deliberately overlooked in the local distribution of government aid and have even been accused of spreading the virus.
Sumi is a 25-year-old widow whose husband was murdered for his faith. “If needed I will die for Jesus, but I will never leave Him.”
Although there has been a slight reduction in the levels of violence against Christians in India, overall violence remains at an extreme level, and levels of pressure in all spheres of life remain very high or extreme.
A key factor in this is the use of social media. When an extremist Hindu mob attacks Christians, one of the first things they’ll do is snatch the victims’ phones, to stop them from recording the incident. However, the group will record the violence and add it to social media to promote their extremist agenda.
The regions where there is most persecution are the states where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu nationalist party, is a major factor in the state government—but that can change every five years due to elections.
Open Doors works through local partners to strengthen the church in India by providing Bibles, emergency relief aid, persecution survival training, livelihood training and community development projects.