India (MNN) — The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released this report of an incident of concern in India. In northeast India, nearly two million citizens were stripped of their nationality due to their minority faith. While India is constitutionally a secular state, a rising mindset says that to be Indian is to be Hindu, and it’s impacting government-related activity in the country.
Increase in Attacks
An unrelated article from Catholic Herald details a recent attack on a Christian woman because she was walking on a road. The incident took place during a Hindu festival, and extremists argued the woman’s actions defiled the roadway. This attack is just one of many, showing a continued rise of Christian persecution in the country.
Greg Musselman, a spokesperson for Voice of the Martyrs Canada, says unfortunately, these reports are not surprising.
“We’ll never eliminate persecution. It is getting worse. I think a part of that is the internet, the social media, people around the world firing each other up,” Musselman says.
In the state of Tamil Nadu, several house churches are finding it increasingly challenging to meet. Usually, house churches are small enough to fly under the radar. However, VOM Canada is receiving reports that this is changing.
Religious Freedom Violations
Some house churches are now under surveillance in attempts to prevent the gatherings. Others were bluntly warned to stop meeting, despite there being no requirement for permission to meet and worship in homes. Still, VOM Canada reports pastors of these small church bodies have experienced harassment and were told they need permission from district officials to hold prayer services.
It appears the mantra “to be Indian is to be Hindu” is no longer a saying; it is now the yardstick for measuring a person’s value and identity in the country. Christians residing outside of India need to pray for the persecuted Christians within the state.
“I think the first thing and most important thing is we pray that the believers would not be paralyzed by fear, that they would continue to do what God has called them to do in building a Christian community and sharing the message of Jesus’ love. And that they would have wisdom,” Musselman says.
Pray for those suffering for their faith to be encouraged. Ask God to remove barriers preventing house churches and small groups from meeting. Pray for Christians in India to have patience and peace despite their circumstances.
Discover ways to advocate for and encourage persecuted Christians through VOMC here.
Header photo is of a church in Hyderabad, India. Photo courtesy of Paul Silvan via Unsplash.