Report: Indian Police Do Nothing as Hindu Relatives Slaughter Christian Convert

Narendra Modi
AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool

Police in Chhattisgarh, India, have as of Monday done little to respond to the brutal killing of a Christian woman by relatives who reportedly tried to stop her from farming her own land due to her conversion, the British Asian Christian Association (BACA) denounced.

Chhattisgarh has become a hotbed of anti-Christian violence in India, a nation that has seen a dramatic surge in deadly violence fueled by Hindu nationalist sentiment under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Violent Hindu nationalists – who believe all ethnic Indians should be Hindus and threaten to kill those who are members of other religions – have repeatedly targeted Christian communities nationwide, often slaying priests, raping and torturing Christian women, and burning down entire Christian communities in an attempt to displace the population. Few face any significant police action.

An Indian army soldier (R) stands along with villagers in front of a ransacked church that was set on fire by a mob in the ethnic violence hit area of Heiroklian village in Senapati district, in India’s Manipur state on May 8, 2023. (ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

The incident reportedly occurred on June 24. A woman identified as Bindu Sodhi (or Sori), was reportedly preparing to plant rice along with other Christian relatives on their land when a group of extremist Hindu relatives stormed the land, attempting to kill them all.

“Sodhi’s mother, brother and younger sister escaped the attackers, but she was captured, repeatedly stabbed to death and left in the field,” the Christian Post reported last week. Multiple reports describe the assailants as carrying axes and arrows; some describe the attackers hacking Sodhi to death with their axes. AsiaNews, the official press agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), reported that the “fanatical Hindu relatives” bludgeoned her to death with a hammer.

Occurring in a remote village in Chhattisgarh, some of the details of the attack differ from report to report, but all concur that Sodhi and her immediate family had converted from Hinduism to Christianity and that, as a result, they experienced repeated death threats and assaults from the rest of their family.

“Sodhi, who converted to Christianity four years ago, had faced ongoing harassment and intimidation from her Hindu relatives who vehemently opposed her faith,” the BACA, which is organizing an effort to fund legal representation for her family, stated on Monday. “The situation escalated recently when a dispute over land erupted.”

The Hindu relatives warned Sodhi and her family to abandon Christianity or abandon their land. They refused to leave, prompting the deadly attack.

The minority Christian community of Chhattisgarh has repeatedly denounced in the past week that the police did nothing after months of warnings from the Sodhi family that their Hindu relatives were threatening violence against them. They have, the BACA reported on Monday, done little in the aftermath of the attack. The assailants are reportedly at large at press time. A police report and subsequent case did not appear to exist on the matter days after Sodhi’s killing. AsiaNews reported that, in addition to killing her, the attackers also stopped Sodhi’s family from burying her, another violation for which they have reportedly faced no consequences.

“We met with the police chief, were told he would look into it, but the stunning reality is that Christians have been detained daily,” an unnamed Christian activist told the Christian Post, which documented two other similar incidents of Christians being hacked to death in the state in June.

BACA published a graphic photo allegedly of Sodhi following the attack. Breitbart News could not independently verify the authenticity of the image.

Arun Pannalal, President of the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum, denounced the incident as far from a lone case, but rather part of a growing campaign by violent Hindu mobs to prevent Christians from being able to live as farmers, denying them the safe use of their land. International Christian Concern (ICC) cited Pannalal tallying 27 “serious attacks on women and religious places in the last two weeks” in just one district of Chhattisgarh.

“Nearly 2,000 letters of complaint have been filed, and no action has been taken. He said police have closed 37 churches in Dhamtari district,” ICC reported.

The current wave of violence in Chhattisgarh began in 2022, reportedly a response to growing numbers of low-caste residents of the state converting to Christianity. Waves of attacks by hundreds of Hindu radicals resulted in the widespread destruction of churches and homes of families known to have converted in December 2022 and continued into 2023. Some Hindu radicals targeted pastors, hacking them to death in their own homes. Other attacks displaced hundreds of people in door-to-door attacks destroying entire Christian communities. Members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Modi exacerbated the violence by openly condemning Evangelical groups for offering charity to some of the poorest people of the state. Police authorities, meanwhile, did little to protect the targeted.

Outside of condemnation from Christian groups around the world, Modi has faced almost no political consequences for his party presiding over a growing wave of anti-Christian violence by Hindu nationalists. Modi received a warm welcome in Washington last summer, where President Joe Biden embraced him as a potential ally against China but said nothing about human rights abuses against religious minorities in India. One journalist – Sabrina Siddiqui of the Wall Street Journal – asked Modi about the persecution, to which he replied by claiming to be “really surprised” and not having any information on such discrimination.

Modi is expected in Moscow, Russia, on July 8 to meet with Russian ruler Vladimir Putin, a self-styled Christian political leader despite his brutal persecution of some Christian groups, prominently Jehovah’s Witnesses. While the Kremlin claimed no topic between the two was “off limits” on Tuesday, few observers expect Putin to challenge Modi on the issue of Christian persecution.

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