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Christians were killed, many injured and numerous homes and churches destroyed in a spate of attacks on Christians over Christmas in the Kandhamal district of Orissa state. The violence began on December 24 in the village of Brahmani when a mob of Hindus belonging to the Vishva Hindu Parishad militant group attacked Christians and their shops in order to protest their planned Christmas celebrations. The violence then spread throughout the area and continued in the following days.

Christians remain at risk as religious tensions persist in the region. On December 31, at least three houses were burned down in three separate attacks in the villages of Rabingia, Barpada and Daringbadi, according to the Indo-Asia News Service. The Evangelical Fellowship of India has reported further incidents as late as January 2. Local Christians believe that the violence is a direct attempt to intimidate the Christian community and stop missionary work in the state, which is one of several Indian states with strict anti-conversion laws.

According a memorandum submitted to the National Human Rights Commission on December 31, at least 90 churches have been burned and 600 houses torched or vandalized in the attacks. Thousands of Christians have been displaced and others are still missing. The total number of Christians killed is unknown. Full details of the carnage are still uncertain since authorities are often denying church groups and fact-finding teams access to the area.

Pray that God will strengthen and protect the believers in Orissa. Pray for comfort for those who have lost loved ones. Pray that believers will continue to rely on their Saviour in this time of trial. Ask God to enable Indian Christians to act as ambassadors of reconciliation who help to draw even their persecutors to faith in the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

For more information on the persecution of Christians in India, go to the India Country Report. The January edition of The Voice of the Martyrs Newsletter features the persecution of Christians in India. To receive your copy, subscribe today.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC VOMC assists persecuted Christians with legal support and rehabilitation assistance, and cares for children of martyrs by providing them with a safe place to be nurtured physical and spiritually. VOMC also partners to equip Christians in India with Biblical training and works to strengthen and support marginalized and persecuted Christian women. Additionally, VOMC helps to provide medical assistance to believers who have faced injuries after being attacked.”

Project Funds: Families of Martyrs, Equipping the Saints, Legal Defense, Relief and Development, Women’s Ministry, Medical Fund

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
1,339,330,514 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Indo-Aryan (72), Dravidian (25), Mongoloid and other (3)

Religion (%)
Hinduism (79.8), Muslim (14.2), Christianity (2.3), Sikh (1.7), other (2)

Leader
President Ram Nath Kovind (2017)

Government type
Federal parliamentary republic

Legal system
Based on English common law; separate personal law codes apply to Christians, Hindus and Muslims.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for India

Despite the intimidation and violence that have taken place in many of India's states, may Christians wisely yet unashamedly preach the Gospel. Pray that indigenous Christians and foreign missionaries will minister in ways that do not hint at fraudulent conversions, unmasking the intentions behind the anti-conversion legislation. Intercede for India's leaders, that they may reign with justice and righteousness.

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