• Jeffrey Ram

THE CHRISTIAN MINORITIES' PERSECUTION CONTINUES PART 1 – INDIA

Written by: Jeffrey S. Ram, Toronto, Canada, April 20, 2021

Natural disasters, epidemics, and wars make religious people remember God, pray to Him, and seek protection and relief. But it was not so with the wicked people and their government agencies in many countries. They exploited the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns to perpetrate violence against Christian minorities in the name of their religions. However, the Christian victims showed exemplary courage, boldly faced the persecution, and stood steadfast in their faith.

SOME GLIMPSES OF CHRISTIAN MINORITIES' PERSECUTION IN INDIA DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The 2014 victory of Hindu extremist Bharatiya Janata Party in the federal election and the subsequent BJP victories in various states started the state-sanctioned persecution of Muslims and Christians. It escalated after the reelection of BJP in 2019. The Hindu extremists believe that all Indians should be Hindus and they should rid India of Christianity and Islam.

According to a research report of the legal organization ADF India, from the time the Hindu nationalist BJP rose to power in 2014 through 2019, Christians were victims of more than 1,400 cases of religious persecutions.

ANTI-CONVERSION LAWS

Many BJP-ruled states have enacted anti-conversion laws to facilitate the persecution of Christians and Muslims. Nine states have such laws, and others are planning to pass them. However, it is not illegal to force people to reconvert to Hinduism. These laws enable the radical Hindus often to intimidate and initiate false charges against religious minorities.

PRIESTS AND NUNS ARE UNDER ATTACK

On February 22, 2021, police charged Sisters of Destitute Sister Bhagya, principal of Sacred Heart Convent High School in Khajuraho city of Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh, on the complaint of a teacher who was fired from her job. The terminated teacher complained that the principal tried to convert her.

On March 19, 2021, two nuns and two postulants (nuns in training) were allegedly verbally harassed and forced to deboard a train at the Jhansi station in Uttar Pradesh by Government Railway Police personnel and fellow passengers identified as members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the BJP. The members of ABVP falsely accused the nuns of being involved in forced religious conversion. The two nuns and the two trainees were interrogated for 5 hours before being released.

84-year old Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy was detained on October 8, 2020, under non-bailable provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). He has applied for bail many times and, on March 22, 2021, he was denied bail again. A champion of the tribal people's rights, Father Swamy has Parkinson's disease and cannot take care of himself.

CHURCHES AND CHRISTIANS ARE UNDER ATTACK

According to the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), 55 violent incidents against Christians took place in the region of Chhattisgarh in 2020, the second-highest after Uttar Pradesh.

The Union of Catholic Asian News reported on February 3, 2021, that a village court in Khala village of Dhurki in Garhwa district of Jharkhand state ordered three families who converted to Christianity to be caned, fined, and excommunicated from the community.

The Times of India reported the statement of the Interior Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Narottam Mishra, who said, "Twenty-three cases were registered under the newly passed Freedom of Religion Ordinance 2020 in January in Madhya Pradesh."

On January 26, 2021, the Hindu extremists attacked a Pentecostal church service at Satprakashan Sanchar Kendra Catholic media center in Indore city in Madhya Pradesh. On the complaint of radical Hindus, police charged 11 Christians for violating anti-conversion law.

The Christian Post reported on February 9, 2021, that an 8-month pregnant Christian woman lost her baby after Hindu extremists pushed her to the ground and kicked her stomach. This incident took place in Dewada village of Barwani District in Madhya Pradesh.

On March 1, 2021, A pastor's son's birthday celebration in Idgah village in Chitradurga district of Karnataka state was interrupted by about 25 Bajrang Dal extremists who assaulted the guests. Two pastors and four other Christians were injured.

In March 2021, a Pentecostal house church in the Dantewada district in the Chhatisgarh state was attacked by Hindu extremists who accused the Christians of engaging in religious conversion. Eight Christians suffered injuries severe enough to require hospitalization.

In March 2021, another incident occurred in a house church in Sarguda in the Bastar district in the Chhatisgarh state. A mob attacked the Christians praying there; at least six people were seriously injured and had to be admitted to hospital. Bibles, furniture, bicycles, and a motorcycle were set on fire by the mob.

Between January and March 2021, the Chhatisgarh state witnessed at least eight incidents that involved coercing Christians to reconvert to Hinduism through 'ghar wapasi' (homecoming) rituals, a social boycott from the village, limits on burial rights, and denial of access to communal village resources.

International Christian Concern reported that on February 11, a mob of Hindu extremists attacked a church construction site in Jharkhand state and

More than 80 percent of India's 1.3 billion people are Hindus; Christians constitute only 2.3 percent of the population. Rajmohan Gandhi, an Indian historian whose paternal grandfather is Mahatma Gandhi and maternal grandfather, is Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari, rightly asked, "Does it behove a great majority community to nurse the sort of victim complex that a beleaguered minority might harbour?"

HOW LONG WILL INDIA’S CHRISTIAN MINORITIES SUFFER BEFORE THE WORLD ACTS?

India’s Christian minorities are praiseworthy for standing firm in their faith and facing the persecution boldly and courageously. Nevertheless, they should try to stop the violence inflicted on them. The Christians and their sympathizers should use their digital and video cameras and the world wide web to bring to light the horrors of their persecution and sufferings. The media attention will help arouse the conscience of the world; it will also facilitate the organization of a united global effort to bring about a change and stop the religious persecution in India.

[Toronto, Canada-based, ReformAdvocate.com aims to encourage religious and racial minorities, immigrants, women, and other weaker groups to become more powerful and prosperous. The subscription is free. Please subscribe.]

(if you have any suggestions to make the blog more effective and useful, please write to editor Jeffrey S. Ram at ram@reformadvocate.com)

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