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More than 432 Hindus became Buddhist at a public ceremony. Anti-conversion laws exist in seven Indian states. For Sajan K George, anti-Christian propaganda continues. At least 1,838 people changed religion in the last five years in Gujarat, this according to data released by state authorities. Of these, 1,735 were Hindus. Faced with these numbers, the president of a far-right Hindu nationalist group blamed Christian missionaries. "Christian missionaries are converting Hindus in the name of social services while the Muslims are doing so in the name of Love Jihad[*],” said Dilip Trivedi, president of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) in North Gujarat, in an interview with the Times of India. “Conversion to Buddhism, Jainism or Sikh religion is not a conversion,” he added. “One can change panth (sect) in Sanatan Hindu religion but converting to Islam or Christianity does major damage to the religion. Their idea of nationhood also changes with their conversion.” According to Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), Trivedi’s comments must be "condemned because they create division among communities". Sadly, "in seven Indian states anti-conversion laws are in force," he explains, with serious penalties imposed on those who induce people to change religion through money and other means. Under such laws,

July 16, 2019. WASAHINGTON DC. (Corrected July 20) FIACONA appreciates the efforts of Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador At Large Sam Brownback for hosting the second annual global conference of Foreign Ministers in Washington from July 16 - 18, 2019 to advance religious freedom around the world. While FIACONA is greatly appreciative of the commitment the US Administration has for the rights of the people to practice their respective religious faiths without interference from state or non-state actors, we are disappointed that one of the largest violator of religious freedom in the world by sheer number of harassment and intimidation, India, is not on the published agenda of the conference. India's ruling Hindu nationalist party is behind almost all attacks against Christians and other religious minorities including the Dalits. Daily harassment of Christians by militia belonging to the ruling BJP party enjoys political protection of the Modi government. These protections are evident as in every case, victims are arrested by police instead of the attackers. Mr. Modi himself makes seemingly strong statements to alienate the office he is holding from such attacks carried out by his party. Statements issued by Mr. Modi condemning acts of violence against Christians and other religious minorities are for the sole purpose

Persecution of Christians in Bihar state, India, has so intensified in the past two years that Pastor Shelton Viswanathan didn’t dare call police after Hindu extremists broke bones in his hand and foot. “If I force the police to register cases against the assailants, the [Hindu extremist] Bajrang Dal’s top leaders will not spare me,” Pastor Viswanathan told Morning Star News. “The police officials asked me to be wary as the Hindu militant activists roam freely with guns, and through their videos, I can be easily identified by other RSS [Hindu extremist umbrella group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh]-affiliated groups also.” Violence against Christians in Bihar state, in India’s northeast bordering Nepal and Bangladesh, has increased in the past two years, sources said. Hopes for forming a Christian response center with help from legal aid and relief organizations has yet to be realized, Devesh Lal of the Bihar Pastors Fellowship told Morning Star News. “The Hindutva [Hindu nationalist] extremists are walking into churches and are disrupting prayer services – on a weekly basis, we hear of threats and attacks on home churches and pastors,” Lal said. “Christian persecution is widely spread across Bihar, and it appears to be a much planned, systematic opposition created to target activities.” Like

The Hindu nationalists shouting at Christian leaders who were summoned to a police station in southern India asked what gave them the right to lead Christian congregations in a Hindu country. “Who gave you the permission to run a church in a Hindu country?” they shouted, falsely accusing the three church leaders in Muthapudupet, in the metropolitan area of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, of using foreign funds to convert Hindus, according to the son of one of the pastors, who was also present. The approximately 200 Hindu nationalists were waiting for Ekklesia Pentecostal Blessing Church’s pastor Sekar, who goes by a single name, pastor Paul Kumaran of Yengaraja Yesuraja Church and church leader Pandari Bai of Grace Home Church after they were summoned to the T8 Muthapudupet police station on July 5. “They shouted at us and were issuing threats that they will demolish Christian buildings,” Pastor Sekar’s son, Livingston Sekar, told Morning Star News. “They were screaming aggressively, and my father cautioned that we should not have a fight there.” Leaders of the Hindu nationalist Hindu Makkal Katchi party (Hindu People’s Party) warned them that there should be no Christian worship in the area, Sekar said. “Pray only with your family, your own brother and

A protester holds a placard during a rally by hundreds of Christians against recent attacks on churches nationwide, in Mumbai, February 9, 2015. Five churches in the Indian capital New Delhi have reported incidents of arson, vandalism and burglary. The latest was reported last week when an individual stole ceremonial items. | (Photo: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui) Six suspects affiliated with a radical Hindu mob have been arrested on charges of attempted murder following an attack on Catholics walking a 280-mile pilgrimage.  The group of 40 Catholics were walking to a sanctuary in the Tamil Nadu state of India  — from Karnataka to the Marian shrine in Velankanni — on a pilgrimage that has been a tradition for decades, when they were attacked earlier this month. The assailants, who are in custody, are accused of blocking a road the Catholics were walking along and then attacking them both verbally and physically. Along with facing charges of attempted murder, they also face charges of "rioting, hurting religious sentiments and acting to destroy religious peace," the Union of Catholic Asia News reports.  An inspector at the Natrampalli police station in the Vellore district told UCA News that the perpetrators blocked a public road where they carried out their assault on the pilgrims. During the

Immanuel Tirkey and about 100 villagers were watching the end of a Christian film in Bihar state, India, when a man stood up in front of the screen and began shouting, “Who is the operator here? Who is the operator here?” Tirkey, one of five Christians who had organized the screening of “He Will Come Again” at the home of a Christian woman identified only as Anandi on Aug. 23 in the Kodaila area of Jamalpur village, Siwan District, rose and asked what was the matter. The man told him to reduce the volume, and Tirkey did so. “He was again and again asking me to reduce the volume,” Tirkey told Morning Star News. “I told him that if I reduced it more, it will not be audible to anybody seated here, and that there are only 10 minutes left for the movie to end.” The man left, but as the villagers were gathering their belongings to leave after the screening, at least 15 Hindu villagers arrived with swords, bamboo poles and wooden sticks, he said. Anandi’s family immediately rushed Tirkey and the other four Christian organizers of the screening into their house and locked the doors. “The batch of Hindu villagers abused them

Hindu extremists raped the 4-year-old daughter of a pastor in central India because he refused to stop sharing the Gospel, a missionary in the region reports.  Pastor Samuel, an Open Doors USA partner on the ground in India, told The Christian Post that over the years, his ministry has come alongside hundreds of Christians persecuted for their faith in the south Asian country.  He shared the story of one pastor and his wife who, shortly after getting married, decided to move to a small town in Central India to begin a ministry for children.  “They would offer the Gospel to these children who were dropped off at their home,” Samuel said. “Before long, these children started doing well at school and changing their behavior, so their parents became curious and asked about Jesus.” With a growing interest in Christianity, the pastor and his wife decided to start a small church in their home. Around that time, their young daughter started kindergarten at the local school.  Not long after the church started, a group of Hindu extremists cornered the pastor and ordered him to stop sharing the Gospel. “They told him to stop holding services, or warned him he would have dire consequences,” Samuel said.  However, the

 Catholics in the Archdiocese of Ranchi have appealed for help after a local Jesuit mission was brutally attacked by a large armed mob last week. St. John Berchmans Inter College, a Jesuit school and hostel in India's Jharkhand state, was attacked by around 500 armed Hindu extremists Sept. 3, the college’s secretary Fr. Thomas Kuzhively reported to Agenzia Fides. The attackers were armed with sticks, chains, iron bars, knives, and pistols, and beat tribal students including two who were seriously injured, he said. They seriously damaged the school’s facilities. The mob also tried to sexually harass female students, tried to prevent the transport of injured students to a hospital, destroyed and vandalized school property, stole cash, and attacked an attached hostel for tribal students, Kuzhively reported. In the wake of the attack, school has appealed to the heads of Jharkhand, as well as other local and regional authorities, for action to be taken. Christians in India have suffered an increase in attacks since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party rose to power in the country’s 2014 elections. In recent years, religious minorities have been targeted by Hindu extremists for violence and oppression in efforts to keep them out of power and influence and to keep the

Activists from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), shout slogans during a protest march in New Delhi, India, February 24, 2016. Thousands of ABVP members on Wednesday carried out the march against "anti-national sloganeering" raised at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus earlier this month, protesters said. | (Photo: Reuters/Adnan Abidi) Authorities in India are reportedly now requiring employees of foreign-funded nonprofits to sign notarized affidavits saying they will not engage in religious conversion. India’s Home Ministry announced Monday restrictive amendments to the Foreigners Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), according to the Economic Times.  The new requirement comes about two years after the Christian child sponsorship organization Compassion International was forced out of the country over a crackdown on foreign aid. India’s Ministry of Home Affairs announced that each member or functionary of a nongovernmental organization will need to file an affidavit attested by a notary declaring that they have not been involved in any act of religious conversion or prosecuted for communal disharmony.  Previous rules required only top office-bearers to give an affidavit when seeking public grants.  The Catholic news outlet Asia News reports that advocacy groups fear that the new rules are meant to target Christian ministries that serve the poor and marginalized.  The head

Authorities in India are reportedly now requiring employees of foreign-funded nonprofits to sign notarized affidavits saying they will not engage in religious conversion. India's Home Ministry announced Monday restrictive amendments to the Foreigners Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), according to the Economic Times. The new requirement comes about two years after the Christian child sponsorship organization Compassion International was forced out of the country over a crackdown on foreign aid. India's Ministry of Home Affairs announced that each member or functionary of a nongovernmental organization will need to file an affidavit attested by a notary declaring that they have not been involved in any act of religious conversion or prosecuted for communal disharmony. Previous rules required only top office-bearers to give an affidavit when seeking public grants. The Catholic news outlet Asia News reports that advocacy groups fear that the new rules are meant to target Christian ministries that serve the poor and marginalized. The head of India's Home Ministry, Amit Shah, is also the president of the Hindu nationalist-aligned Bharatiya Janata Party. Since BJP's rise to power with the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, persecution against Christians and other religious minorities has drastically increased. "These new modifications will reignite fears that NGOs will be selectively

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