The number of violent attacks on Christians in India has been steadily increasing during the administration of Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Telegraph reported Sunday.
The report suggests that it is precisely “the prime minister’s Hindu nationalist agenda” that has fueled the rise in attacks on Christians manifesting a “worrying trend” of religious intolerance.
New data “shows a record number of violent attacks against Christians across the country,” the Telegraph noted.
By all accounts 2019 was a very difficult year for Christians living in India, as Breitbart News has reported, and 2020 promises to be as bad if not worse. In the first quarter of 2019, hate crimes and targeted violence against Christians in India showed a jump of 57 percent over the same period in 2018, according to report released at the time by the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI).
The persecution continued unabated through the year, and Indian Christians faced one of their most difficult Christmases in memory, suffering numerous acts of targeted persecution, according to a report from International Christian Concern (ICC).
The growing intolerance toward Christians severely curbed Christians’ ability to freely celebrate the Christmas holiday, ICC said, and many were forced to adjust their Christmas celebrations accordingly, due to “a fear of being attacked by Hindu radicals.”
Sunday’s Telegraph article recounts the story of Christian pastor Jai Singh, who was assaulted by a mob of some 200 Hindus chanting anti-Christian slogans in the village of Bitchpuri, which has a Christian population of some 120 souls.
The mob, instigated by members of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), an all-male paramilitary youth wing of Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), beat the pastor along with his 15-year-old son and dragged him to the village square.
“They hit me with their fists and then took me into the temple and beat me with sticks, before stretching my legs back as far as they would go,” resulting in two broken feet and permanent nerve damage to his legs, Rev. Singh told The Sunday Telegraph.
As is typical in such cases, Pastor Singh’s assailants have filed trumped-up charges against him for “attempted conversion” in an apparent attempt to silence him.
“We are living in constant fear and after hearing about the attack, many local believers renounced their faith,” Singh said.
“But for me it just made my faith stronger and I pray to God to forgive the people who attacked me,” he added.
According to the latest data, the year 2019 saw a record 328 violent attacks against Christians in India.
More than 300 Christians were detained without trial for their faith, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a faith-based legal advocacy organization, while numerous businesses, homes, churches, and schools were looted, torched, or vandalized. The ADF has registered a 220 percent increase in violent attacks on Christians since 2014 when Mr. Modi came to power.
Yet while 328 violent attacks were reported to officials, only 36 of these resulted in police filing a case. Not one of the incidents has resulted in prosecution.
Indian Christians trace their history back to 52 AD, when the apostle Thomas reached their shores to evangelize those living there. Presently there are some 28 million Christians in India, who comprise 2.3 percent of the overall population.