Demanding Justice for Christians Facing Unending Violence and Persecution in India

By 

Shaheryar Gill

|
September 18, 2023

4 min read

Persecuted Church

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Christians are facing increasing persecution and violence in the world’s most populous nation – India – and we’re taking direct action to defend them from this rapidly deteriorating human rights situation.

Through our affiliate office in Strasbourg, France, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), the ACLJ is again before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). We have filed several reports with the UNHRC detailing serious human rights violations in several countries. While these countries are from different continents, one thing is sadly common among all of them – the persecution of Christians. One of the countries where the persecution of Christians is daily increasing is India.

India recently made headlines “again” for its unwillingness to stop violent attacks by Hindu mobs against Christian minorities. We wrote about the shocking video made available on social media in which a mob of men from the Meitei tribe (predominantly Hindus) armed with sticks, saws, and other weapons humiliatingly paraded through the streets two women from the Kuki tribe (predominantly Christian) after the mob had attacked their village in the state of Manipur. This mob attack resulted in over 140 deaths, the destruction of hundreds of homes and churches, and the displacement of over 60,000 people.

Even after these attacks and human rights organizations from all over the world asking the Indian government to protect its innocent minorities and punish those who perpetrate such heinous acts of violence, we recently received news of four other Christians killed in Manipur.

The violence, however, is not limited to just one state of India. Our report to the UNHRC highlighted several other incidents of persecution around the country. Much of the persecution happens as a result of the anti-conversion laws designed only to prohibit Hindus from converting to any other religion and punish religious minorities for sharing their faith with Hindus.

For instance, our report stated:

On July 26, 2023, a Christian orphanage, housing seventy-three children, in Madhya Pradesh was raided and shut down for alleged “conversion.”

On July 23, 2023, a church was shut down and seven people, including a pastor and a woman were arrested and charged under anti-conversion laws in Uttar Pradesh.

On July 23, 2023, a Christian man with Bethlehem Gospel was arrested for allegedly luring poor people to convert to Christianity.

On July 19, 2023, two men and a Christian priest were sentenced to two years of rigorous imprisonment under the Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Act for converting community members.

On July 17, 2023, police arrested a man for unlawful conversion for allegedly converting 230 Dalit families to Christianity. The police also confiscated Bibles and other Christian books.

On July 3, 2023, a case was registered against nineteen Christians, with ten of them being arrested for unlawful conversion in Uttar Pradesh.         

In July 2023, seven Christians were brutally attacked during a Sunday church service in Chhattisgarh, with all seven sustaining life-threatening injuries.

Our report also informed the UNHRC that these acts of violence and persecution, both by state and non-state actors, are occurring on a daily basis while India’s Prime Minister Modi claims that “[his] government will not allow any religious group, belonging to the majority or the minority, to incite hatred against others, overtly or covertly.” One look at the news reports (some mentioned above) coming out of India shows that these are not only mere words without any action, but they are also contrary to what is actually happening in India.

Due to the mob violence against and false prosecutions of Christians under the anti-conversion laws, India has been ranked the 11th most dangerous country for Christians. These facts are alarming, and we have asked the UNHRC to ensure that Prime Minister Modi’s statement becomes a reality and a true guarantee for all citizens of India, especially the persecuted Christians. Words without action are meaningless.

In addition to filing our legal reports at the U.N., we are working closely with Christian leaders and attorneys on the ground in India, looking for new ways to engage this tragic situation and provide legal aid and support to Christians there.

We will continue to raise a voice for our brothers and sisters in India and around the world.