Persecution of Christians in India to escalate in 2024

The persecution of Christians in India has reached alarming levels in the first months of 2024, with a significant increase in attacks and hostility, according to reports from various human rights and religious organizations.

The United Christian Forum (UCF) documented 161 incidents of violence against Christians from January 1 to March 15, 2024. These attacks include bans on access to water wells for Christian families in Chhattisgarh and false accusations of illegal conversions in Uttar Pradesh, where numerous pastors have been arrested simply for conducting religious services.

The increase in violence is a continuation of the escalation seen in 2023, when 601 cases of persecution were recorded, 45% more than the previous year. The states of Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh stand out as the most affected regions. In these places, Christians face physical attacks, destruction of places of worship, and expulsion from their homes. The situation is particularly dire for converts from Hinduism, who are constantly pressured to renounce their new faith.

The attacks are exacerbated by anti-conversion laws in place in several states, which critics say are used to justify violence and intimidation. These laws allow Hindu extremists to accuse Christians of forced conversions, resulting in arrests and continued harassment. In many cases, local authorities, who often share extremist ideology, not only ignore these abuses but sometimes actively participate in them.

The recent violence in Manipur is a clear example of the gravity of the situation. In May 2023, ethnic-religious clashes in this region displaced thousands of Christians, destroyed hundreds of churches and resulted in numerous deaths. These incidents have highlighted the dangerous intersection between politics and religion in India, where Hindu nationalism continues to gain ground, promoting an agenda that marginalizes religious minorities.

The international community and human rights organizations are urgently calling on the Indian government to take firm action and protect the constitutional rights of Christians and other religious minorities. Meanwhile, Christians in India continue to practice their faith courageously, despite the significant risks they face.

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