Christians faced 1,774 hate crimes in four years
From 2016 to 2019, Indian Christians have faced 1,774 cases of hate crimes across 25 states and 3 Union Territories, says Persecution Relief report.
In other words, India witnessed 59.6 percent rise in hate crimes against Christians during the same period, says Persecution Relief’s much-awaited “Annual Report-2019.
Persecution Relief is an ecumenical forum that records Christian persecution in India.
In 2019 alone, the forum documented 527 cases compared to 447 cases in 2018, 440 in 2017 and 330 in 2016.
It was a drastic leap of 179.4 percent.
Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, emerged as the most hostile place for Christians for three consecutive years.
Tamil Nadu continues at the second spot with 75 cases, followed by Karnataka, 32 cases, Maharashtra 4 with 31 cases and Bihar with 30 cases at number 5.
What stands out among the hate crimes in India is that four Christians were murdered in 2019.
In the same year, the forum recorded 199 incidents related to threats, intimidation and harassment against Christians, 104 attacks on churches, 85 incidents of physical violence, 100s of house churches forcefully closed by religious fanatics and the local administration in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The anti-conversion law was introduced in two states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh making a total of 8 out of 28 states to have passed the same law.
The Persecution Relief started in 2017 a toll-free number 1800-1234- 461 to provide comprehensive support to the persecuted.
Between 2017 to 2019, it received 2,718 calls from Christians desperately seeking help and relief.
As many as 739 such calls were recorded in 2019 alone.
The ecumenical forum says Christian persecution is no more confined to a particular state.
The authorities have made trivial efforts to dissuade the BJP-controlled states and mobs from contradicting religious liberty and breaching the constitutional rights of religious minorities.
The police often misuse and abuse their authority and operate as extended hands of the religious fanatics, the report said.
In many instances, hate speeches by influential leaders sometimes involving the lethal narrative around national identity based on religion, have played a massive role in bringing division among the once amicable masses.
These conditions among many others have attributed to the unusual spurt of violence in India.
“We at Persecution Relief are an organization that creates a global awareness about Christian Persecution in India by reporting authentic information and advocating on behalf of the persecuted Christians by providing them with comprehensive support,” said Shibu Thomas, founder, Persecution Relief.
“Our Annual Reports are trusted and utilized by various governments and organizations across the globe. Our reports are logical and all-inclusive about the atrocities faced by the Christians in India,” he added.
Thomas has recently written an open letter to the Prime Minister of India, highlighting the plight of the persecuted Christians in India.
Indian Christians amount to 2.3 percent of India’s total population of 1.3 billion. However, they have never faced a situation as hostile as the current one since independence in 1947.
Information on the plight of the persecuted people will empower the weakening religious minorities in India and free the masses of their ignorance about hate crimes against Christians, Thomas said.