Thursday, January 6, 2011

India’s Christians facing spike in assaults

Christians in India faced an upsurge
in violence in the past decade.
At the end of December, Compass Direct News released a report on how Christians in India faced a spike in attacks in the past decade. Since 2001, Christians have faced more than 130 assaults each year, with figures far surpassing that in 2007 and 2008.

In 2010, Christians suffered at least 149 violent attacks, according to a report by the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI). Most of the incidents took place in just four states: Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in south India, and Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in north-central India. Of India’s 23 million Christians, 2.7 million live in these four states.

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rules three of the four states with the most persecution of Christians—Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. The EFI noted that the high number of attacks on Christians in those states was no coincidence.

“While it cannot be said that the ruling party had a direct role in the attacks on Christians, its complicity cannot be ruled out either,” the report stated.

In 1998, the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)—India’s chief Hindu nationalist conglomerate and the BJP’s ideological mentor—targeted Christians when Italian-born Sonia Gandhi, Catholic by descent, became the president of India’s Congress Party. The attacks on Christians were apparently aimed at coaxing Sonia Gandhi to speak on behalf of Christians so that she could be branded as a leader of the Christian minority, as opposed to the BJP’s claimed leadership of the Hindu majority.

Take a few minutes to read about 14 recent attacks on Christians in India here.

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