According to study: More than 200 incidents of anti-Christian violence recorded in India so far this year
A leading religious freedom advocacy organization based in India has reported over 200 incidents of anti-Christian violence so far this year. “Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took control of India’s central government, attacks on religious minorities, including Christians, have been increasing.” International Christian Concern’s Regional Manager for South Asia claims.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), India, found that there has been an astonishing 218 incidents since the start of the year, with most coming from the presence of mob violence. Shockingly, despite the high frequency of attacks, only 25 police reports were filed, indicating a clear a distrust of the police and justice process.
“While the recent ADF India report on increased anti-Christian violence is shocking, it also is no surprise,” International Christian Concern’s Regional Manager for South Asia, William Stark, told Faithwire. “Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took control of India’s central government, attacks on religious minorities, including Christians, have been increasing.”
“The data do not differ much from the trend of 2018, which saw an average of 20 incidents a month, almost a case of violence a day,” said Tehmina Arora, human rights lawyer, activist, and consultant of the NGO “Alliance Defending Freedom” (ADF India), which takes care of the organization of the service.
Since the BJP rose power back in 2014, Stark noted that “attacks on Christians in India have more than doubled.”
“The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) documented 147 incidents of anti-Christian violence in 2014, the year the BJP took control of the central government,” he added. “That number skyrocketed to 351 documented incidents in 2017 and then 325 documented incidents in 2018.”
The increase in anti-Christian violence, Stark said, was the result of “a predictable cycle,” which he explained in detail.
“First, BJP politicians and Hindu nationalist leader use religiously divisive rhetoric and policies for political gain. In their speeches, these leaders and politicians single out Christians and Muslims as followers of “foreign faiths”, individuals who are “anti-national” and deserving of suspicion,” Stark told Faithwire.
The most prominent threat faced by the Christian community comes from a group of nationalist Hindu radicals who want to see followers of Jesus eradicated from their country. “Because radical Hindu nationalists view followers of Jesus as alien to the nation, all Christians in India are suffering persecution,” notes persecution watchdog, Open Doors USA. This poisonous rhetoric “then incites anti-minority violence perpetrated by radical nationalist groups,” Stark added.
“Driven by a desire to cleanse their country from Islam and Christianity, Hindu nationalists do not shy away from using extensive violence to achieve their goals.”
“Following these incidents of violence, local authorities do little to help the victimized minority communities, as documented by the ADF report. This cycle of incitement and impunity is essentially what is driving the increased anti-Christian violence in India.” he explained.
ADF’s international wing has bureaus across North America, Latin America, Europe and South Asia, as it seeks to engage in “legal advocacy before national and international institutions and courts, including the European Court of Human Rights, the European Parliament, and the United Nations,” according to an info sheet on its website.
“Until now, no Christian legal organization has had the capacity to effectively challenge opponents to faith and freedom in the international legal system,” the advocacy group noted. “ADF is making a difference.”
Among their legal victories, ADF managed to win the very first criminal convictions of perpetrators involved in the killing of Christians in the state of Odisha, India.