Christian persecution likely to intensify in India in 2023: Release International

By: News Desk
Published: 08:48 PM, 4 Jan, 2023
Christian persecution likely to intensify in India in 2023: Release International
Stay tuned with 24 News HD Android App
Get it on Google Play

UK-based Christian aid and advocacy organization Release International has exposed the face of the Modi government and his Hindutva doctrine by expressing a fear that the persecution of Christians is likely to intensify in India in 2023.

According to the 24News HD TV channel, the organization said the report of ‘Persecution Trends’ against minorities in India identified it as a country of “growing concern” for 2023 as there are no chances of decreasing this trend.

The report also expressed a fear that the government of the BJP and RSS will not take any action against its followers and allies belonging to Hindutva.  

The Christian Post in its report released on Wednesday said, “The persecution of Christians worldwide appears set to increase in India in the coming year 2023, according to a report by the United Kingdom-based aid and advocacy organization Release International.

Providing aid to persecuted Christian families in over 25 countries, the charity released its annual "Persecution Trends" report Wednesday. The document is based on findings from its partners in the world's worst persecution hotspots.

The report identified India as a country of "growing concern" for 2023. 

Release International predicts that persecution is also likely to increase in India, where radical Hindus appear increasingly emboldened by the dominance of the nation's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party government, according to the report.

Religious freedom conditions in India have drastically deteriorated in recent years following the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2014.

While Christians comprise only 2.3% of India's population and Hindus account for about 80%, about a dozen states have enacted anti-conversion laws, claiming that Christians "force" or entice Hindus to convert to Christianity.

"More states are passing anti-conversion laws. Karnataka followed suit in September. There are concerns that a national law to limit the right to convert may follow," the report reads. "As intolerance rises, reports of violent attacks against pastors and congregations continue."

Anti-conversion laws typically state that no one can use the "threat" of "divine displeasure," which means Christians can't talk about Heaven or Hell since it would be seen as luring someone to convert.

The Evangelical Fellowship of India reported 200 attacks on Christians in the first five months of 2022, Release International notes.

Over the recent Christmas period, there were reports of Hindu radicals burning effigies of Santa Claus, which they equate with Christianity, and chanting "Death to Jesus Christ," the report says.

"The persecution of Christians in India is intensifying as Hindu extremists aim to cleanse the country of their presence and influence," a fact sheet from Open Doors USA states.

"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 United Christian Forum reported at least 486 violent incidents of Christian persecution in 2021, calling it the "most violent year" in the country's history. And the number of attacks this year could be even higher.

Release International CEO Paul Robinson says the next 12 months will be significant for large swathes of the Church across the globe.

"Those who use violence to try to stamp out Christianity have forgotten the lesson of history," he adds. "It teaches us that persecution, terrible though it is, strengthen resolve. It emboldens and refines the Church."

Categories : Latest, South Asia