Published: 00:01 GMT Standard Time - Wednesday 07 March 2012
Lent Prayer - India
Project(s): 21-510, 21-723
Country/Region: South and East Asia, India
“Persecution against Christians has become a daily occurrence... There is great fear among the people because of the threats they received from the extremists.” A pastor in Orissa State expresses the apprehension that many Indian Christians have been feeling this past year. In the first half of 2011, 64 cases of violent attacks against Christians were recorded in India.
|Christian children stop on their way to their school, which is supported by Barnabas Aid|
The police are often slow to respond; sometimes they even take action against the Christian victims or force them to accept a compromise with their attackers, such as agreeing to demands to leave their village, not holding worship services in their homes or paying a fine.
Most of the violence comes from followers of Hindutva, a militant form of Hindu nationalism, who strive to make India into a religiously “pure” nation. In April 2011 an angry mob of 150 Hindu extremists attacked a Christian worship meeting in Delhi. They beat up participants indiscriminately, including women and children, and destroyed furniture and vehicles. Two Christians required hospital treatment for head injuries.
Hindutva’s political wing now holds or shares power in ten states and has been instrumental in the adoption in several states of anti-conversion laws that forbid religious conversions that use “force”, “fraud” or “inducement”. The laws are regularly misapplied, and Christians are falsely accused and arrested on charges of “forcible conversions”.
Much of the Hindu extremist activity has been prompted by the remarkable growth of the Church in India in recent generations, especially amongst the Dalits. At present, two-thirds of India’s 27 million Christians are Dalits, who suffer discrimination in employment and live a hand-to-mouth existence because they are the lowest level of the caste system.
Barnabas Aid projects include:
- Christian schooling in India (Ref. 21-510)
- Houses for persecuted homeless Christians in Orissa (Ref. 21-723)
This article is taken from
“Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent 2012” -.