Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Saturday 25 September |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Herman “the Cripple”
home iconNews
line break icon

Christians in India are “living in fear,” says Catholic bishop


Fionn Shiner-ACN - published on 10/02/19 - updated on 10/02/19

State-led violence and oppression are blamed for persecution suffered by Christians.

Christians across India are “living in fear” because of acts of state-led violence and oppression, says the bishop of a region still recovering from one of the country’s worst outbreaks of persecution.

Speaking to leading Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Kishore Kumar Kujur of Rourkela described how the government in India is “causing problems” – with support from “right-wing” groups hostile to Christians and other minorities.

He said: “Christians are living mostly in fear at present – much more [so] in the north, where they are a minority.”

Underlining the severity of the threat, the bishop said his safety would be put at risk if he released key details about the oppression and persecution suffered by Christians and other minorities.

Bishop Kujur’s diocese covers part of Odisha state (formerly Orissa), where an anti-Christian pogrom in 2008 left 100 or more dead, 50,000 homeless, with attacks on 4,500 houses and 250 churches.

The bishop said: “Since 2002, there have been problems. There is a fear about how the government will react now the right wing has taken over. We have apprehensions it will not go well for the Christians.”

In 2018 there were 477 anti-Christian incidents in India, according to a US-based charity Persecution Relief, up from 440 in 2017.

The bishop said anti-Christian persecution increasingly comprised more subtle, insidious oppression, rather than acts of violence.

Bishop Kujur said: “A lot of people don’t know what is happening to Christians in India. Christians are seen as foreigners and as not belonging to India. We are told to go back to where we came from.

“Christians are not in [Prime Minister] Modi’s good books. They are seen as converting the others to Christianity which the government does not want.”

Bishop Kujur stressed that “generally” Hindus had goodwill towards Christians and that the threat comes from “a minority which are radicalised who have taken over the government”.

But he added: “The majority [of people] keep quiet. They don’t stand up for us and protect our rights and maintain justice. They keep quiet and are afraid.”

Aid to the Church in Need has launched an appeal for India, amid reports of the killing of Christian converts, and sexual violence, including the gang rape of five women working for a Christian NGO in Jharkhand state.

In 2018, according to reports, 100 churches were forced to close following attacks and threats.

This article was published at Aid to the Church in Need UK. ACN supported 487 projects last year in India, including emergency help, construction of churches and the training of priests and religious.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
J-P Mauro
Chicago architect models Vatican City from 67,000 LEGO bricks
Philip Kosloski
Why J.R.R. Tolkien loved to attend daily Mass
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
Bret Thoman, OFS
Exclusive photos: Meet Padre Pio and the place he lived
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady saved Padre Pio from a violent demonic attack
Cerith Gardiner
9 Padre Pio quotes for when you’re feeling scared or uncertain
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.