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A church being transformed into an tribal religion centre. - Photo: Morning Star News www.morningstarnews.org
Workers convert church to tribal religion centre.
Photo: Morning Star News

Christians in India have frequently faced opposition from neighbours as well as authorities. A growth in Hindu nationalism has exacerbated the problem. In recent months, however, attacks on Christians in northern India have spiked even higher, often instilling fear in congregations within the area.

According to Vijayesh Lal from the Evangelical Fellowship of India, incidents have risen to a never-before level in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state. In an incident that took place late October, a group of believers were meeting in Agra when a mob of 40 to 50 people forced their way in, carrying bamboo poles and hockey sticks. Many of the gathered Christians were beaten, and seven of them left in serious condition. When the police arrived, several of the assaulted victims were detained for "hurting religious sentiments," but none of the attackers have been arrested to date.

The violence has not been restricted to Uttar Pradesh; it has also spread to other areas of northern India. In a surprising twist, Hindu activists have apparently joined other religious groups. In the state of Jharkhand, tribal leaders influenced by members of the militant Hindu group RSS persuaded villagers to drive five Christian families from their homes. The home of one of these victims, Sidiu Bari, was left in shambles. Facing the threat of expulsion and seizure of their land, three of the families converted back to the tribal religion. Similar situations are happening around Jharkhand.

In Punjab, where over half the population is Sikh, Christians are facing opposition from both Hindus and Sikhs. A pastor in the village of Chaksharif was attacked on October 31st. The mob accused him of using the church as a means for sexually exploiting women. In another village, a church building was set on fire on November 7th. Both the pastor and his wife were converts from Sikhism and had been sharing the Gospel among the Sikhs since 2007. For more details on the persecution facing Christians throughout India, visit our country report.

Please remember to uphold the Christians of northern India in your prayers as they face opposition from all directions. Pray that those affected will stand firm in their faith. May the Christians of various church denominations band together in unity, supporting and encouraging one another (Hebrews 10:25). Also intercede for the civil authorities who need wisdom and diplomacy in order to handle cases of persecution in a fair and just manner, while ensuring proper help and protection are provided to those being abused.

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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India News

  • Anti-Conversion Laws Expand to Haryana State
    A group of people riding motorbikes, all wearing orange scarves, some carrying orange flags
    Hindu nationalists in Haryana.
    Photo: Morning Star News

    Despite strong opposition, and even walkouts organized by opposing politicians, the Haryana Assembly in northern India passed the "Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill" on March 22nd. The bill's stated purpose is to instil

    ...
  • Pastor Killed by Masked Men
    Man with his head in his hands
    Pray that believers will sense the comforting presence of God’s Holy Spirit who grieves with them in their loss.

    Pastor Yallam Shankar was at home in Angampalli, Chhattisgarh, on March 17th when five masked men suddenly burst in. After dragging the pastor from his home, the attackers stabbed him to

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  • Pastor Beaten Over Conversion Allegations
    Large building (Delhi Police Station)
    Delhi Police Station
    Photo: Wikipedia / Ji-Elle (cc)

    On the morning of February 25th, Pastor Kelom Kalyan Tet was returning from visiting a friend when he was accosted on a street in South Delhi by a mob. Accusing the pastor of illegal conversion activities, they began to beat him. The assailants

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