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Report reveals alarming hostility towards Christians in Indian states

Indian Christians hold placards and banners during a protest in New Delhi in this file photo to draw attention to continued anti-Christian violence. (Photo by AFP)

Several Indian states have shown hostility towards Christians, according to a recent report by an ecumenical body on the rising persecution of Christians in the South Asian country.

A report released on March 21 by the United Christian Forum (UCF) based in New Delhi highlighted the alarming situation faced by Christians in 19 out of 28 states, where “Christians faced threat to life for practicing their faith.”

False accusations of religious conversion have led to the unjust detention or arrest of 122 Christians as of March 15 this year. According to the UCF, there were 161 reported incidents of violence against Christians during that exact period.

On April 19, India will begin an extended three-month campaign and voting process to elect 543 lawmakers to the lower house of Parliament (Lok Sabah). The results are scheduled to be announced on June 4.

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is aiming for a third consecutive term in office after winning the previous elections in 2014 and 2019.

Since Modi assumed office in 2014, there have been 147 reported incidents of violence targeting Christians. This data reached 687 in 2023, according to an anonymous Church leader.

A. C. Michael, the national coordinator of the UCF, expressed deep concern for Christians in the country. “It is a matter of serious concern for Christians in the country,” he said.

The BJP governs eleven states, most of which have implemented a comprehensive law against conversion. Christian leaders claim that certain Hindu groups, with the support of local police, are using it in a way that unfairly targets members of the community.

Michael stated in an interview with UCA News on March 21 that “the ruling dispensation’s ideology of majority community appeasement seems to have brought this situation where the minority communities are feeling unsafe.”

In addition, Father Jacob G. Palakkappilly, spokesperson of the regional Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC), said the current situation is causing concern among Christians in the country.

The priest called on the provincial governments to take immediate action against those responsible for the acts of violence.

The most recent report identified the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh as the province with the highest number of challenges faced by Christians. There have been 47 reported incidents of violence against Christians in the state so far this year, according to recent data.

Additionally, a UCF study uncovered social ostracism and denied access to necessities like "water and even burial grounds" for the area's Christians.

Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in northern India, has unfortunately witnessed 36 incidents of violence against Christians, placing it in second place.

As per the report, Christians have been subjected to persecution due to their religious practices, with clear indications of state-sponsored harassment, including instances of “police filing false cases of religious conversion.”

A report shows that Hindu groups in the state focus their attention on pastors and priests who engage in “praying at birthday parties and other social gatherings.”

It also revealed that there have been more than 30 arrests made under a controversial anti-conversion law in Uttar Pradesh.

Madhya Pradesh, a state in central India, came in third with 14 reported incidents of violence targeting Christians. Following closely behind are Haryana and Rajasthan in the north, with ten and nine incidents, respectively.

The BJP governs all five states. A small minority of India's population, approximately 2.3 percent, identifies as Christians. The majority, around 80 percent, practices Hinduism. Leahna Villajos


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.