As many of the world’s Christians prepare to celebrate the Christmas holiday, Christians in India are struggling with a growing sense of fear. In just a single week in December, International Christian Concern (ICC) documented over half a dozen instances of religious persecution against Indian Christians.
As a result of these incidents, at least 10 Christians were arrested on trumped up criminal charges, 25 Christian families were cut off from clean drinking water, and several churches, including one church with nearly 600 members, were shut down. Unfortunately, this trend of increasing intolerance and persecution is nothing new for India’s Christians, and it is having an impact on the community’s ability to freely celebrate the Christmas holiday.
“We have cancelled all our Christmas events in Banni Mardatti village, including carols, cottage meetings, and pre-Christmas events,” Pastor Raja Bhovi, head pastor of His Grace Church located in India’s Karnataka State, told ICC. “There is a fear of being attacked by Hindu radicals.”
On December 4, Pastor Bhovi’s church community was attacked by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists as they were clearing a plot of land for the construction of a church. The Christians were brutally beaten by the extremists as a result.
“We were small in number at the police station compared to mob of Hindu radicals,” Pastor Bhovi explained. “All of the 25 Christian families were present at the police station to lodge a complaint, however, the police told us that Christians cannot hold any meetings in the village and that pastors from outside the village cannot visit the Christian families, even during this festive season.”
After this, the extremists in the village cut off the water supply for all 25 Christian families. According to locals, the radicals told the Christians that they would be driven out of the village unless the agreed to recant their faith.
Read more at International Christian Concern