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Anti- Christian
Christian
violence in India
India
refers to religiously-motivated violence against Christians
Christians
in India.[1] Violence against Christians has been seen by Human Rights organization as a tactic used to meet political ends.[1] The acts of violence include arson of churches, conversion of Christians
Christians
by force and threats of physical violence, sexual assaults, murder of Christian
Christian
priests and destruction of Christian
Christian
schools, colleges, and cemeteries.[2][1] In August 2017, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) ranked India’s persecution severity at “Tier 2” along with Iraq and Afghanistan.[3] In the past six years, India
India
has risen from No. 31 to No. 11 on Open Doors' World Watch List, ranking just behind Iran in persecution severity.[4][5]

Contents

1 Background 2 Overview

2.1 Delhi 2.2 Uttar Pradesh 2.3 Jammu and Kashmir 2.4 Madhya Pradesh 2.5 Kerala 2.6 Karnataka 2.7 Orissa 2.8 Gujarat

3 West Bengal 4 Response

4.1 US State Department 4.2 National Commission for Minorities 4.3 National Integration Council of India 4.4 Pope Benedict XVI

5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading

Background[edit] From 1964 to 1996, at least 38 incidents of violence against Christians
Christians
were reported. In 1997, 24 such incidents were reported. Since 1998, Christians
Christians
in India
India
have faced a wave of violence.[6] In 1998 alone, 90 incidents were reported.[2] In 1999 an HRW report stated that Vishva Hindu Parishad
Vishva Hindu Parishad
(VHP), Bajrang Dal, and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
(the sister organisations of BJP) are the most accused Hindu
Hindu
organizations for violence against Christians
Christians
in India.[1] Sangh Parivar
Sangh Parivar
and local media were involved in promoting anti- Christian
Christian
propaganda in Gujarat.[1] The National Commission for Minorities has stated that the State governments ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party
Bharatiya Janata Party
and its allies provided support to the perpetrators.[7][8] It was reported by some sections of the media that there was an increase in incidents of violence against Christians
Christians
after the new BJP government under Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi
came to power after the general election in April–May 2014.[9][10][11][12] An investigation of crime records shows that church attack figures under NDA rule match those under UPA.[13] In 2014 the Ministry of Home Affairs reported a “steep 30 per cent rise in the number of communal violence incidents in 2013 as compared to 2012, with the maximum number of cases being reported from Uttar Pradesh.”[14] Reported incidents of abuse carried out against Christians
Christians
in India
India
went up to 177 in 2015, and escalated to 300 in 2016 the Evangelical Fellowship of India reported.[15] The persecution of Christians
Christians
in India
India
increased sharply in the year 2016, according to a report by Open Doors.[16] India
India
was ranked 15th in the word in terms of danger to Christians, up from 31st four years earlier. According to the report, it is estimated that a church was burnt down or a cleric beaten on average 10 times a week in India
India
in the year to 31 October 2016, a threefold increase on the previous year.[16] According to the All India
India
Christian
Christian
Council, there was an attack on Christians
Christians
recorded every 40 hours in India
India
in 2016.[17] There were 26 documented cases of violence against Christians
Christians
in the country between January and March 2016, while the central government refrained from speaking out against it.[18] There were incidents of anti- Christian
Christian
violence in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
and Rajasthan around Christmas in December 2016.[19] Overview[edit] Incidents of violence against Christians
Christians
have occurred in nearly all parts of India, it has largely been confined to north, central, and western India, in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and the capital area of New Delhi. In June 2000, four churches around India
India
were bombed. In Andhra Pradesh, church graves were desecrated. A church in Maharashtra
Maharashtra
was ransacked.[20] In September 2008, two churches were partly damaged in Kerala.[21][22] Christian
Christian
leaders described the events of September 2008 as deliberate acts by anti-socials and denied any religious motive in the attacks.[23] In 2015, a church building under construction was vandalised in Haryana.[24][25] St. George church in Mumbai
Mumbai
was also attacked by masked persons.[26] Four people were arrested by the police including a person who operated an illegal gambling den. The police claimed that it was a revenge attack because the accused suspected that a complaint from St. George's Church had led to a police raid on their gambling den.[27] In the same month, the cathedral of Jabalpur
Jabalpur
was attacked and more than a dozen people were injured.[28] The same cathedral had also been attacked in 2008 and the entire altar burnt down.[29] In April 2015, St. Mary's Church in Agra
Agra
was vandalised and statues of Mother Mary and the Infant Jesus
Infant Jesus
were damaged.[30] Police arrested a Muslim man who reportedly was angry about being rejected by a Christian girl.[31] In June, a nun was sexually assaulted in Raipur.[32] A Church in Kachna area of Raipur
Raipur
was attacked by a mob during a Sunday Service and five people were injured when they tried to stop the miscreants.[33] There were reports of a mob thrashing women and children, however police maintained no women and children were injured.[34][33] Delhi[edit] Several churches were attacked in the capital Delhi
Delhi
in recent years,[35] like St. Sebastian's Church, which was burned.[36] Uttar Pradesh[edit] The small Christian
Christian
minority in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, population 200 million, are the target of increasing violence. Citing an article by Institute for Leadership and Community Development, India
India
Today lists Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
first among states of India
India
which “tend to have the greatest number of incidents of religiously-motivated attacks and communal violence.”[37][38] Considered by many the birthplace of both the religion of Hinduism
Hinduism
and of India
India
as a nation, Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
is a focal point for large Hindu festivals such as the Kumbh Mela, and for Hindu
Hindu
religious pilgrims from all over the nation. Christians
Christians
are often viewed as being anti-nationalist due to their commitment to worship only the God of the Bible
Bible
rather than the Hindu
Hindu
deities. In the first half of 2016, there were more hate crimes against Christians
Christians
in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
than in any other state of India.[39] In the first 100 days since Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath
Yogi Adityanath
assumed office on March 19, 2017, there were at least 16 reported incidents of violence against Christians
Christians
in U.P.[40] As reported by the Evangelical Fellowship of India, a partial list of incidents in the first half of 2017 is given below:[41]

On March 19 in Hardoi a pastor was threatened by RSS Hindu
Hindu
extremists in the presence of the media. He was told that he would not be allowed to conduct any further Sunday worship services. On March 26 in Lakhimpur Kheri around 50 Hindu
Hindu
extremists disrupted a worship service. The pastor and some of the parishioners were arrested and later released. On March 9 in Mau a pastor and three other Christians
Christians
were attacked by six men. On March 29 in Agra
Agra
while returning home from a prayer meeting six Christians
Christians
were attacked by a mob of about 20 Hindu
Hindu
extremists, severely assaulted, and handed to the local police. On April 9 in Ghazipur, a pastor was attacked by the local liquor mafia with the help of Hindu
Hindu
extremists on allegations opposing the liquor shop situated near the church. He was later released. On April 12 in Jaunpur a pastor’s house was raided in order to take him into police custody to prevent him conducting Easter service in his Church. Another Jaunpur pastor was threatened to not conduct his Easter service. Police protection was granted and Easter services were held. On May 1 in Ghazipur district Hindu
Hindu
extremists attacked 20 Christians families, abusing them and assaulting the female pastor. When she approached the police, they were of little help. On May 7 in Jaunpur policemen disrupted the Sunday worship service that was being lead by a lady pastor. She was arrested at the request of Hindu
Hindu
extremists of that village. On May 9 in Mau Hindu
Hindu
extremists incited police to arrest six Christians
Christians
who had organised a prayer meeting. On May 14 in Ghaziabad Hindutva
Hindutva
extremists disrupted a church worship service, and beat up the pastor and the parishioners. The pastor sustained multiple injuries and was unable to walk because of the beatings. The attackers also damaged church property. On May 19 in Bhadohi around 25 – 30 Hindu
Hindu
extremists surrounded a church shouting anti- Christian
Christian
slogans and threatened the pastor to discontinue services. On June 2 in Unnao Hindu
Hindu
extremists incited police to threaten a pastor and demanded that he produce a letter of permission for conducting church services. On June 11 in Jaunpur a pastor was beaten and threatened by the police to stop conducting Sunday services in his church. When he sought justice in court, he was refused help. On June 25 in Sitapur policemen disrupted a Sunday worship service, scattered the worshippers and using abusive words, warned the leaders to discontinue the service. On June 25 in Ballia a prayer meeting was disrupted by 25-30 Hindu activists. The Christians
Christians
present were assaulted. On June 25 in Bareilly three Christians
Christians
were arrested after Hindus accused them of conversion activities. On June, Christian
Christian
families in Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
were beaten and denied water for their crops.[42]

Jammu and Kashmir[edit]

“ The anti- Christian
Christian
intolerance in Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
is reaching alarming proportions ”

— Sajan George, The president of the Global Council of Indian Christians
Christians
(GCIC)[43]

Christians
Christians
in India
India
have frequently been subjected to intolerance,[43] harassment, intimidation, and attacks by Muslims.[44] In Jammu and Kashmir, the only Indian state with a Muslim majority, a Christian convert and missionary, Bashir Tantray, was killed, allegedly by militant Islamists in 2006.[45] The Government of Jammu- Kashmir
Kashmir
in 2010 asked Jim Borst, a Dutch Catholic Missionary, who was at that time one of the two members of the Institute Mill Hill missionary in the Kashmir
Kashmir
valley, to leave the valley. Borst was also in charge of two schools there.[46] Nevertheless, the spokesperson for Indian Christians, John Dayal rejected the claim that any forced conversion took place. John Dayal stated, "A fact finding team which went to Srinagar in the wake of the arrest of Rev Khanna, and interviewed Church personnel, Ulema, school authorities and the police, found no evidence of force or fraud in baptisms that have been carried out over a period of time. Each baptism has been proved to be voluntary".[47] In January 2012, a Sharia
Sharia
court of Kashmir
Kashmir
announced a Fatwa
Fatwa
against Christian
Christian
schools in Kashmir. It asked three priests to leave the valley on the charge that they were "luring Muslims to Christianity". The court not only instructed the government of Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
to monitor such activities in the future but to also take over the management of the Christian
Christian
missionary schools.[47] In April 2012, a Christian
Christian
couple was arrested with that accusation of "promoting enmity". The policemen later explained that the arrest was made "as a precaution to prevent tensions in the area." However, their children tell a completely different tale: "Our parents went to Srinagar on April 16 last year to attend a wedding. The next day, while doing some shopping at the market, talking to a salesman our father said he was Christian
Christian
and they were insulted, beaten and finally arrested by local police."[48] In May 2012, in a premeditated arson attack Muslims set fire to a Catholic church.[49] Concerning these issues Father Mathew Thomas, pastor of Holy Family commented "With these gestures, the Muslim community is trying to intimidate the Christian
Christian
minority. But there are not even 400 Christians
Christians
in Srinagar: I appeal to Omar Abdullah, chief minister, a Muslim who studied in Christian
Christian
institutions. He must protect the entire population of Srinagar, including minorities."[49] A Muslim mob with Imprimatur of Local Imam, in April 2013, attacked a group of seven British Christians
Christians
including five women and two children, who were living in Shivpora for about four years. Muslims hurled stones at their vehicles and house. The reason they claimed was to stop conversion to Christianity.[43] On 5 February 2013 eight Americans and four Koreans were attacked by an Islamic mob at 10 pm, and alleged them of forced conversions propagated through a Facebook page. A crowd of people threw stones at the walls outside the hotel where the tourists were staying, but owing to the intervention of policemen, injuries were avoided.[44] The Facebook page of Gulmarg News showed an image of three oriental women and first line of a long caption stated, "Attention Kashmir!!! Islam in Kashmir
Kashmir
is under attack, Christians
Christians
trying to convert Muslims."[50] Madhya Pradesh[edit] In Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
a church was destroyed and bibles were burnt in Mandla district
Mandla district
in September 2014.[51] In March 2015, a Bible convention was attacked in Jabalpur, with allegations that religious conversions were taking place.[52] Christian
Christian
tribals were said to be living in fear with the rising incidence of attacks.[53] Several community leaders said the attacks on Christians
Christians
started to increase when the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party
Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP) rose to power back in 2003 and again in 2014.[54][unreliable source?] Kerala[edit] A Christian
Christian
priest, K. K. Alavi in Manjeri, a 1970 convert from Islam,[55] thereby raised the ire of his former Muslim community and received many death threats. An Islamic terrorist group named "The National Development Front" actively campaigned against him.[56] Muslim clerics are known to hold up Alavi as a prime example of an enemy of Islam even during prayers.[56] In that area traditional Christianity
Christianity
is considered blasphemy.[56] In the southern state of India, Kerala
Kerala
which has an ancient pre-Islamic community of Eastern Rite Christians, fundamentalists chopped off the hand of Professor T.J. Joseph due to allegation of blasphemy of prophet.[57] On 4 July 2010, a group of eight people in a Maruti Omni waylaid the Professor near his home at Muvattupuzha. Joseph was pulled out of his car along with his sister and his mother. They were attacked with knives, swords, axes and home-made bombs. Professor Joseph’s right hand was chopped off at the wrist and thrown away. He also suffered wounds to other parts of his body. His left hand from the wrist also has been severely damaged. His sister and his mother also suffered injuries.[58][59][60] According to police, the attack was carried out by an eight-member team consisting of Savad of Asamannoor, Pareeth of North Vazhakkulam, Shobin of Kothamangalam, Nazar of Aluva, Shajil of Muvattupuzha, Shamsuddin of Perumbavoor, Shanvas and Jamal.[61] Karnataka[edit] There was a wave of church bombings in the early 2000s by the once banned Islamic organization Deendar Anjuman which alleged that Christianity
Christianity
was not an 'Indian' religion.[62] In 2008, there was a wave of attacks directed against Christian churches and prayer halls in Karnataka
Karnataka
by the Hindu
Hindu
extremist group Bajrang Dal around 2008 .[63][64] The violence started from 14 September 2008 when about 20 churches were vandalized in Mangalore, Udupi, Chikkamagaluru, and in other districts of Karnataka.[65] Minor violence was later reported from the border state of Kerala. B.S. Yeddyurappa, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, said the attacks were provoked by conversions of Hindus
Hindus
to Christianity. He also alleged that a Protestant
Protestant
group had distributed literature which insulted Hindu
Hindu
gods. The Chief Minister however clarified that he was not defending the actions of those who attacked prayer halls and churches in Mangalore, Udupi
Udupi
and Chikmagalur on Sunday.[66] Later, the Christian
Christian
leaders denied it and commented that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was inciting violence rather than working to calm the situation. On the other hand, the Central Government had strongly criticized and sent showcase notices to the state Government for not solving the issue effectively.[67] [68] Incidents of mob attacks against Jehovah’s Witnesses[69] have been reported with increasing frequency in Karnataka. The attackers gather in gangs of 20 to 50 individuals to intimidate small groups of Witnesses engaging in the Christian
Christian
ministry that they are well known for. See also: September 2008 attacks on Christians
Christians
in Mangalore A church in Mangalore
Mangalore
was attacked in February 2015.[70][71] Orissa[edit] Main article: Religious violence in Orissa In a well-publicised case, Graham Staines, an Australian Christian missionary, was burnt to death along with his sons Timothy (aged 10) and Philip (aged 6), while they were sleeping in his station wagon at Manoharpur village in Keonjhar district
Keonjhar district
in Orissa in January 1999. He was running the Evangelical Missionary
Missionary
Society of Mayurbhanj, an Australian missionary society.[1] In 2003, Dara Singh was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of leading the gang responsible.[72] An outbreak of violence started on 24 December 2007 at Bamunigam village of Kandhamal District
Kandhamal District
when Hindu
Hindu
activists forcefully removed a Christmas decoration placed on a site traditionally used during Durga Puja.[73][74] In August 2008, Swami Lakshmanananda, a Hindu
Hindu
swami and VHP anti-conversion and reconversion activist, was attacked and killed, along with four associates by Maoist guerrillas.[75] The violence that followed resulted in the death of some Christians. The violence later spread to more than 600 villages in 14 of the 30 districts in the state, resulting in 5,600 Christian
Christian
houses burnt and 54,000 homeless. 38 Christian
Christian
people were murdered, while 18,000 were injured. Human rights groups estimated 100 deaths, including women, disabled and children. 295 churches and places of worship were destroyed, along with 13 schools and colleges and 5 non-profit organisation offices.[76] As of 2015, the Christian
Christian
victims were still awaiting justice and rehabilitation.[77] On March 16, 1999 a Hindu
Hindu
mob of 5,000 attacked Ranalai (PIN - 761 017) in Gajapati District and set houses on fire.[78][79][80] and engaged in looting. Three people were injured. The CM of Odisha, Sri Giridhar Gamang, visited the next day. During the Kandhamal riots
Kandhamal riots
of 2008, some small villages in rural areas were targeted by extremists. They killed the pastor of Mukundapur, a small village in Gajapati District[81][82] Gujarat[edit] In 1997 in Gujarat, 22 churches were burnt or destroyed, and another 16 damaged.[83][citation needed] Recently, there has been a sharp increase in violent attacks on Christians. A Hindu
Hindu
group claims to have converted 2,000 tribal Christians
Christians
to Hinduism. The attackers had vandalized places of worship and thus caused strike terror among the tribals. On 18 September, the Central Government issued an advisory under Article 355 of the constitution to the Orissa government along with Karnataka.[84][unreliable source?] West Bengal[edit] In March 2015, a 71-year-old nun was gang raped in West Bengal
West Bengal
during an attack on a convent school in which the school's chapel was ransacked and sacred items stolen.[85][86][87] The Police identified all eight perpetrators and arrested six of them, two of whom were Bangladeshi nationals.[88][89][90] Response[edit] US State Department[edit] In its annual human rights reports for 1999, the United States Department of State criticised India
India
for "increasing societal violence against Christians."[91] The report on anti- Christian
Christian
violence listed over 90 incidents of anti- Christian
Christian
violence, ranging from damage of religious property to violence against Christians
Christians
pilgrims. The incidents listed in the report were attributed to local media reports and information gathered by Christian
Christian
groups in India.[91] National Commission for Minorities[edit] In light of recent Anti- Christian
Christian
violence in Karnataka
Karnataka
by the Bajrang Dal activists, the National Commission for Minorities had accused the Karnataka
Karnataka
government of serious lapses in handling the situation. They were found directly responsible for allowing the violence to spread, and claimed the police failed to solve the issue effectively as the violence continues. They also clarified that there were no reported complaints of forced conversion registered in the state.[7][8] National Integration Council of India[edit] On 13 October 2008, the National Integration Council of India
India
called a special meeting chaired by Manmohan Singh, then Prime Minister of India
India
and raised the voice against spreading anti- Christian
Christian
violence in India. The Prime minister strongly condemned the violence supported by the hands of Hindu
Hindu
militant organizations such as Bajrang Dal, VHP etc.[92] The prime minister had earlier publicly admitted that the ongoing violence against the Christian
Christian
communities was a matter of great "national shame". [93] Pope Benedict XVI[edit]

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v t e

On 12 October 2008, Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
criticized the continuing Anti- Christian
Christian
violence in India. On 28 October, the Vatican called upon the memory of Mahatma Gandhi for an end to the religious violence in Orissa. In a written address to Hindus, the Vatican office said Christian
Christian
and Hindu
Hindu
leaders needed to foster a belief in non-violence among followers.[94] Although the Mahatma had been strong in his opposition to forced conversion and Christian
Christian
missionaries activities, he had denounced violence as an appropriate response.[95][96][97][98] See also[edit]

Religious violence in India Violence against Muslims in India Religion in India Persecution of Christians Persecution of Hindus Communalism (South Asia) Hindutva Saffron terror Christian
Christian
terrorism

References[edit]

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Christian
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Christian
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Christian
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India
Under Modi: US Report". India
India
Today. Retrieved August 28, 2017.  ^ Borgohain, Sonalee (February 10, 2017). "Attacks Against Muslims, Dalits Grew Sharply in India
India
Under Modi: US Report". India
India
Today. Retrieved August 28, 2017.  ^ "Hate and Targeted Violence against Christians
Christians
in India" (PDF). Evangelical Fellowship of India. August 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 2016. Retrieved August 31, 2017.  ^ "Sixteen incidents against Christians
Christians
in 100 days of Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh". Global Christian
Christian
News. 2017-06-29. Retrieved 2017-09-04.  ^ "Sixteen incidents against Christians
Christians
in 100 days of Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh". Global Christian
Christian
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Further reading[edit]

Bauman, Chad M. (August 2013). "Hindu- Christian
Christian
Conflict in India: Globalization, Conversion and the Coterminal Castes and Tribes". The Journal of Asian Studies. 72 (3): 633–653. doi:10.1017/s0021911813000569.  Osuri, Goldie (2013). Religious Freedom in India: Sovereignty and (anti) Conversion. Routledge. ISBN 0415665574.  Uma, Saumya; Grover, Vrinda (2010). Kandhamal: The Law must Change its Course. New Delhi: MARG: Multiple Action Research Group. ISBN 978-81

.