Upcoming political change triggers a rise in persecution

By October 8, 2013

India (MNN) — Christians are becoming a scapegoat in the run-up to India’s national elections.

In Karnataka state, more and more Christians are being targeted for political gain. (Image courtesy Mission India)

In Karnataka state, more and more Christians are being targeted for political gain. (Image courtesy Mission India)

According to ASSIST News, Hindus are trying to secure votes in the run-up to next spring’s national elections. India’s politics have two major players: the secular Congress Party, which has ruled India for the past decade, and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“The BJP official party platform is that India’s a country that’s only for Hindus,” says Dave Stravers of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India. “Hindus have the rights, and any other person of any other religious persuasion should leave the country.”

As a result, Christians are coming under fire.

Sajan George, president of the Global Council of India Christians (GCIC), told Morning Star News that persecution in Karnataka state increased from 4 attacks between the months of January and May to 21 attacks from June to mid-September.

“The Hindu extremists want to show their existence by attacking the Christians, and sadly the present Congress government is not serious about these attacks launched against the Christians,” Senior Advocate S. Nova Bethania of Christian Legal Association told Morning Star.

“Christians are targeted because of the very fast growth of the Christian Church,” states Evans. “We actually have seen presentations by Hindu leaders saying, ‘The growth of Christians is so fast in our region, within a generation we’ll be majority Christian if we don’t put a stop to this’.

“That fear of losing political power when your party is based on religion, because so many people are turning to Christ, that’s really the basis of the persecution.”

In mid-September, a mob of Hindu extremists beat a 50-year old believer and dragged her around the streets, Morning Star reports. They also tried to re-convert the woman to Hinduism, pouring water on her to symbolize religious cleansing and applying a red dot to her forehead.

The attack lasted a total of six hours. The woman was eventually rescued by her sister-in-law, and taken to a hospital where she was treated for internal injuries multiple contusions.

“What I am suffering is nothing compared to what my Lord Jesus has suffered,” she told Morning Star. “I will love Him forever for giving me a new life.”

Mission India workers face the same dangers.

“Our workers are threatened every day,” says Stravers. “Beaten up, attacked; forced out of locations.”

Despite daily persecution, the Gospel is spreading and the Church continues to grow.

Mission India’s Adult Literacy program and Children’s Bible Clubs are widely accepted by Muslim and Hindu populations alike. Click on each program name to learn more.

“Without literacy, [people] cannot participate in the economic growth of India,” explains Stravers.

India is one of five developing world economies known as BRICS; Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa compose the rest of the acronym. These countries have experienced an economic boom over the past decade.

Rapid growth isn’t limited to the economy.

“I’m just so impressed, and overwhelmed, in fact, by the response to the Gospel,” says Stravers.

“Everywhere we go, people are open to the message of Christ. People seem so eager to get out from under the burden of Islam, or the burden of Hinduism.”

Pray more people will turn to Christ from these religions. Please ask the Lord to protect Gospel workers in India.

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