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INDIA – Escalating attacks

Persecution is still increasing in some places, especially where the nationalist BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) is powerful, ’ said Pastor Kumar (pictured below), who works with one of our partners in India. ‘We are seeing a growing number of attacks on pastors.’

Although India’s constitution grants freedom of religion on paper, the reality is that Hindu extremists continue to oppose the Christian gospel – often violently, he said.

Attacks against India’s Christian minority have more than doubled since the BJP came to power in 2014. That year, Christians suffered 147 attacks. But by the end of the BJP’s first term in office, that number had risen to 325. Last year alone, violence against Christians had soared by 57 per cent, according to the Evangelical Fellowship of India.

Following the landslide victory of the BJP in May 2019, Christians in India fear that the level of violence will only continue to increase.

‘Escalating persecution has created a backlog of desperate physical need,’ said Kumar. ‘We are becoming increasingly aware of on-going needs among some families that have suffered attacks in the past.’

Pastors who have suffered severe injury in violent attacks have often been left with crippling medical conditions requiring further treatment. Many find themselves in situations where they and their families are struggling financially.

Pastor Lenin, for example, was attacked and beaten unconscious in a Tamil Nadu village nearly four years ago. Although he was admitted to hospital at the time he has continued to suffer internal health problems and has been advised to have a CT scan.

‘We are depending on God for all we need’

Pastor Paul was attacked and beaten with rods after a Sunday service in Telangana state back in 2011. He suffered head and back injuries – but also internal blood clots, which had to be removed.

He was bed-bound for three years and although he is now working again, if only in a limited capacity, he continues to suffer stomach and digestive problems that may need further surgery.

When Release staff met his wife Bharathi and teenage son Rana (pictured) last year, Bharathi told us: ‘We are depending on God for all we need. Despite the many problems we face, we want to continue to stand for God.’

Thank God that morale among India’s Christians in general remains strong, said Kumar. ‘God is still growing His church – even in the midst of persecution.’

PLEASE PRAY

  • Following the landslide electoral victory of the BJP in May, our partner has asked supporters to pray for the protection of India’s Christians. Pray too that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will uphold religious freedom for all citizens.

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