Christians wary of upcoming elections in India

By March 4, 2024

India (MNN) — The Voice of the Martyrs USA reclassifies India amid escalating religious tensions.

“We have changed India’s status from ‘hostile area’ to ‘restricted nation’ for the first time in 20+ years that we have been putting out our global prayer map,” VOM USA’s Todd Nettleton says.

“This is particularly significant as we approach national elections in April and May.”

Narendra Modi addressing crowd in 2014.
(Image taken from Narendra Modi’s personal feed on Flickr)

Typically, VOM classifies “countries where Christians are persecuted as either hostile areas or restricted nations,” Nettleton explains.

“In ‘hostile areas,’ the government at least pays lip service to religious freedom. But there is persecution from a terrorist group or family members or some other source. In a ‘restricted nation,’ the government is driving persecution in that country.”

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the helm, India has steadily declined in democratic and religious freedom in the past ten years. Hindu nationalism spread like wildfire in the same period.

“The Hindu nationalist ideology that Prime Minister Modi grew up in and espouses and has stocked his government ministries with – that’s what’s driving the persecution of our brothers and sisters,” Nettleton says.

“The government is the driving force behind the persecution of the Church.”

Hindu nationalists seek to purify India by getting rid of religious minorities. State-level anti-conversion laws and reconversion ceremonies have become increasingly common. More about that here.

“Prime Minister Modi wants a third term; he wants five more years to enact these ideologies,” Nettleton says.

“Christians in India look at that and say, ‘We know what’s happened in the first ten years under Prime Minister Modi; what will happen in the next five?”

Partner with VOM here to stand alongside persecuted Christians in India. Most importantly, pray. Pray believers in India will have courage and perseverance.

“Let’s pray against a sense of discouragement,” Nettleton requests.

“It’s easy to look at the government and what has happened in the last ten years and be discouraged because Christians don’t have as many rights as they did [before.] Pray that the Lord will be with them.”



Header image courtesy of VOM USA.

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