Anti-Christian Attacks Surge as Hindu Nationalism Grows

Battling accusations of forced conversions, the church faces escalating threats, false arrests, and assaults on their institutions, reports the Evangelical Fellowship of India.

The number of violent anti-Christian incidents in India jumped to 601 in 2023 compared to 413 the previous year, according to a new report from the Evangelical Fellowship of India’s Religious Liberty Commission (EFI-RLC).

“Despite constitutional protections and India’s long-standing tradition of religious diversity, the rise of divisive rhetoric and inflammatory language, often condoned or inadequately addressed by official channels, has emboldened sections of society to perpetrate acts of violence and discrimination against religious minorities, particularly Christians and Muslims,” said Vijayesh Lal, general secretary of EFI.

India is home to about 28 million Christians, or about two percent of the country’s population of 1.4 billion. The majority of attacks on Christians were categorized as threats and harassment (201) followed by 146 instances of false accusations and subsequent arrests.

EFI-RLC’s report highlights several troubling trends, including regional hotspots, primarily concentrated in the northern part of the culture, where violence against Christians is particularly severe. Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state and a significant political battleground, recorded the highest number of incidents at 275. The state also leads in arrests of pastors and believers, often on allegations of forced conversions, despite lacking substantial evidence.

Chhattisgarh, a state in central India, is another hotbed of targeted violence against tribal Christians. It witnessed 132 incidents of coordinated attacks in addition to several Ghar Wapsi (“returning home” programs of reconversion to Hinduism or ancestral faith) and ostracism incidents that are not recorded.

Haryana, a landlocked …

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