India (MNN) — In India’s Jharkhand state, Hindu extremists attacked, beat, and threatened eight believers who refused to recant their faith. David Curry of Open Doors USA says that unfortunately, this kind of persecution is not unusual for Indian Christians.
Some of the pressure stems from a lack of intervention by authorities. Locally speaking, Jharkhand has anti-conversion laws that lead to more intense anti-Christian pressure.
This pressure is also fueled by the allegiance of local governors to a national agenda. Curry says “Prime Minister Modi and his political party” have “a very nationalistic, extremist Hindu agenda.” Since Modi and his party took power, there has been a rise in persecution throughout India. “They’ve said they want to push Christians out of India,” Curry says. “They’re setting up rules and laws and governments in order to do that.”
New political pressure has bumped India to the number 10 spot on Open Doors’ World Watch List, a ranking of the most dangerous countries for Christians.
As if things weren’t difficult enough, Curry is worried that most of the Body of Christ doesn’t know what’s happening in India. According to him, “the world has to wake up to the religious persecution that’s happening in India to Christians and to Muslim groups as well.”
What keeps outsiders uninformed? Curry says Indian leadership is resistant to claims of any level of religious persecution. Technically, local laws say India does have freedom of religion, but Curry says that doesn’t play out in regular life. According to him, 635 pastors were arrested and held without trial because of their faith in 2018 alone.
“I was talking to an Indian lawyer last week and they said, ‘You know, it’s ironic that now in India, we can choose our gender, but we can’t choose our faith,’” Curry says.
It’s important that Christians make their voices heard. Curry suggests “calling your representative to let them know you’re concerned about the persecution of Christians in India.”
You can also pray.
“Those churches and people who have a passion for India need to let people know that the environment has shifted over the last six years and it’s a new world, so we really need to be praying for the Christian church.”
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