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#10 in Christian persecution, India


SCORE


81.82


REGION

Asia


PERSECUTION TYPE

Religious nationalism


RELIGION

Hinduism


PERSECUTION LEVEL

Extreme


POPULATION

1,397,423,000


CHRISTIAN

68,863,000


GOVERNMENT

Federal parliamentary republic


LEADER

Prime Minister Narendra Modi


PROFILE OF PERSECUTION

Violence 15.6/16.7

Church Life 13.3/16.7

National Life 14.7/16.7

Community Life 12.9/16.7

Family Life 12.7/16.7

Private Life 12.7/16.7


What does persecution look like in India?

The persecution of Christians in India is intensifying as Hindu extremists aim to cleanse the country of their presence and influence.


The driving force behind this is Hindutva, an ideology that disregards Indian Christians and other religious minorities as true Indians because they have allegiances that lie outside India, and asserts the country should be purified of their presence.


This is leading to a systemic, and often violent and carefully orchestrated, targeting of Christians and other religious minorities, including use of social media to spread disinformation and stir up hatred.


The COVID-19 pandemic has offered a new weapon to persecutors. In some areas, Christians have been deliberately overlooked in the local distribution of government aid and have even been accused of spreading the virus.


Meet “Sumi”

Sumi is a 25-year-old widow whose husband was murdered for his faith. “If needed I will die for Jesus, but I will never leave Him.”


What has changed this year?

Although there has been a slight reduction in the levels of violence against Christians in India, overall violence remains at an extreme level, and levels of pressure in all spheres of life remain very high or extreme.


A key factor in this is the use of social media. When an extremist Hindu mob attacks Christians, one of the first things they’ll do is snatch the victims’ phones, to stop them from recording the incident. However, the group will record the violence and add it to social media to promote their extremist agenda.


Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

The regions where there is most persecution are the states where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu nationalist party, is a major factor in the state government—but that can change every five years due to elections.


What does Open Doors do to help?

Open Doors works through local partners to strengthen the church in India by providing Bibles, emergency relief aid, persecution survival training, livelihood training and community development projects.


Population statistic: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2021).

Pray for India

  • Give thanks to God that many people are coming to know Jesus after being healed of sickness; pray that this will continue.

  • Pray that social media companies will do more to combat the spread of disinformation and hatred on their platforms.

  • Ask God continued protection, strength and encouragement for Open Doors partners as they serve the church in India.


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