Christian activists say uptick follows landslide victory of country's Hindu party in national election.
Christians in India are facing an increased number of violent attacks and threats in the wake of the re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of the country’s majority Hindu party, according to an UCANews report.
The Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 303 seats in the 545-seat parliament in the April-May Election.
Two weeks after Modi was sworn into office on May 30, incidents of violence against Christians have been reported in the Indian states Karnataka, Jharkhand, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry and Uttar Pradesh, according to Christian leader A.C. Michael.
“A second term for the BJP has for sure boosted the morale of Hindu groups, who keep threatening and intimidating minorities for being non-Hindus in India, which they think belongs to Hindus only,” Christian leader A.C. Michael.
According to the UCANews report, the following incidents have taken place in recent weeks:
- On May 30 police detained Pastor Roopsen Paswan of the Assemblies of Believers Church in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, and warned “of dire consequences if he continued to hold church services in the district.”
- On June 2, Hindu groups threatened pastors in Maharashtra with violence if they continued to hold Sunday services.
- A pastor and his wife were abducted by a mob who entered the church during Sunday prayers in Uttar Pradesh. They were released, but warned not to hold services there again.
“These are not isolated incidents but part of a great game by extremist Hindu groups to terrify minorities, particularly Christians, and render them as second-class citizens,” Peter Sony, a social activist based in New Delhi told UCANews.
“They believe Christians and Muslims aren’t Indians but foreign settlers who should be shown their real place,” he said.
Eighty percent of India’s population of 1.3 billion is comprised of Hindus, 14 percent is Muslim and 2.3 percent is Christian.
Open Doors, an organization monitoring persecution against Christians worldwide, ranks India as the tenth most dangerous country for Christians.