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Over 60 violent attacks against Christians in India this year

Country/Region: India, South and East Asia

With two - three incidents of violence against the community each week in 2011, Christians in India, continue to face the worst ever persecution in India.

Rev. Dr. Richard Howell, General Secretary, Evangelical Fellowship of India

Over 60 violent anti-Christian attacks were recorded in India during the first half of 2011 as Hindu extremists continue to target churches, pastors and Christian families.

Christians in India face two-three violent incidents every week
Christians in India face two-three violent incidents every week

In one incident in Jharkhand state at the end of May, five Christian families fled their homes in fear after being beaten up by Hindu extremists. One woman was hospitalised, suffering internal injuries, while another woman - a mother of three - was abducted and held for a month until a court ordered her release. Police have failed to make any arrests in connection with this incident.

In April, an angry mob of 150 Hindu extremists attacked a Christian worship meeting in Delhi and indiscriminately beat up participants, including women and children. Two Christians required hospital treatment for head injuries. The assailants also destroyed furniture and vehicles.

Saul Pradhan, a 45-year-old Christian pastor, whose house was torched by Hindu fundamentalists two years ago, was found dead in Kandhamal, Orissa state, in January. The police claimed that his death was due to cold, but Saul's body bore marks of assault.

The southern state of Karnataka, which is governed by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been worst hit by the anti-Christian violence; of the 64 incidents recorded throughout the country, 20 happened in Karnataka. These include pastors and Christians being threatened and beaten, church services being disrupted and the buildings ransacked, and Christian property being seized or destroyed.

The Evangelical Fellowship of India, which recorded the anti-Christian incidents, said it was "deeply concerned at the continued hostility against the Christian minority community in the country". As well as violent attacks, there have been numerous cases of Christians being falsely accused and arrested on charges of "forcible conversions".

Rather than protecting the Christian community, the police often take action against them. Several Christian victims have been forced to accept a compromise with their attackers, including submitting to demands to leave the village or area, not conducting worship services in their homes or paying a fine.

EFI said:

The blatant disregard for the law by alleged Hindutva proponents, coupled with the inaction and often bias of the police in favour of the attackers, has left the community vulnerable and helpless in the onslaught of violence.

EFI called for state governments to take immediate steps to protect the Christian minority, and for the Karnataka authorities to withdraw the "false and malicious cases" that have been registered against Christians.

 

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  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 20 hours ago

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Lift up to the Lord persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka, where at least 65 anti-Christian incidents took place during 2013, including repeat attacks on several believers and their property in October 2013. However, a Sri Lankan government minister from a Buddhist nationalist party denied the accounts, saying that they might be “made up”. The minister claimed that Sri Lankans are “one family … trying to live together after a long civil war”. Pray that the Sri Lankan government will recognise the danger that our brothers and sisters face from militant Buddhists and that the authorities will provide effective protection for vulnerable Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Condemned Christian mother Aasia Bibi’s final appeal hearing is scheduled to take place tomorrow (14 April) having been deferred twice. She was sentenced to death for blasphemy in November 2010 having been falsely accused of insulting Muhammad following an argument with Muslim co-workers. Aasia has been languishing in jail since the accusation was made in June 2009. Pray that her appeal will finally go ahead and that the judges will have the courage to acquit and release Aasia; there are concerns that they may give in to pressure from hardline Islamists who have been calling for her execution. Pray that Aasia, her husband and children will know the Lord’s peace as they await the verdict. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

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