A statue and crosses were removed from a Christian cemetery in Karnataka state on March 2nd by government officials after receiving complaints from non-local Hindu activists. The cemetery has been used for Christian burials for nearly 40 years without any previous problems. It has also been the location for some prayer gatherings over the years.
Recently, rumours were circulating that forceful conversions have been taking place at that location. Without consulting Christians in the area, government officials ordered the removal of the monuments. According to church leaders, the move is "a blow to the communal harmony of the people in our villages" and goes against the guarantees of religious freedom in the constitution.
The Hindu nationalist BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) came to power in 2014, resulting in increased opposition to any religion other than Hinduism. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom stated in its 2019 report that "religious freedom conditions in India continued a downward trend." For more details on the persecution facing Christians in India, go to our country report.
Pray for wisdom and discernment to be granted to the Christian leaders involved in this case as they confront the injustices of civil authorities and others in the community opposing them. May these governmental leaders recognize the importance of upholding the constitution's 'freedom of belief' for all citizens. Lift up India's many Christians who are endeavouring to reach out to the spiritually impoverished of their country with the Good News of God's salvation while contending with increased hostility and threats.