Indian Christians Look to Upcoming National Election with Hope and Anxiety
India’s national elections, due to take place in April, are considered a very crucial time to much of India’s population, including Christians.
In anticipation of the elections, ICC spoke to three pastors from states with significant levels of persecution. ICC asked these pastors to share their thoughts on the upcoming election and what they would like to see in India’s next government.
“We have endured more unrest under the present government than previous governments,” Pastor Omprakash explained to ICC. “If the ruling party comes to power again, we fear that there won’t be any freedom for Christians to hold prayer meetings and worship.”
Pastor Omprakash leads an ‘Aradhana Sabha’ (worship place) in a remote village in the Sultanpur District of India’s Uttar Pradesh state. He and his congregation were brutally attacked by Hindu radicals on February 7 during the small prayer gathering. Six members of Pastor Omprakash’s congregation were hospitalized with serious injuries as a result.
“I have been jailed twice during the tenure of the present government,” Pastor Omprakash continued. “The ‘crime’ I have committed was conducting prayers.”
In Uttar Pradesh alone, ICC recorded 114 incidents of persecution against Christians in 2018. Uttar Pradesh experienced the highest number of incidents of persecution throughout the nation, which included physical attacks, disruption of worship services, and the illegal detention of pastors and other Christians.
Looking back, 2018 was yet another difficult year for Christians in India. ICC documented 305 incidents of persecution across the country. These incidents affected thousands of Christians who paid a heavy price for following Jesus. According to Open Doors’ Word Watch List, India is among the top 10 most persecuted nations in the world.
If there is one thing that Indian Christians want from 2019 national election, it would be a government that respects religious freedom and simply enforces the rule of law for minorities. Let’s join Indian Christians in prayer that the next government will prioritize the freedom of religion and the rights of religious minorities.
You can read the other two pastors’ testimonies and full article here