Violence against Christians in India: 29 incidents reported in January

New Delhi: The year 2019 is not much different from 2018 for Christians in India except that on an average if 2018 witnessed 20 incidents per month, 2019 has begun with 29 incidents in January in 13 states of India. Almost an incident a day if we keep aside Republic Day and Martyrs’ Day. Sadly, even that right was taken away from us as on Republic Day a peaceful prayer meeting in a house in Kotra Tehsil, Udaipur District, Rajasthan was disrupted by extremists’ elements throwing stones and shouting slogans against Christians. As usual another false allegation of conversion. Till today, police have not taken any action and nor have they filed FIR against the culprits.

Unless the political forces stop encouraging the people from taking power into their own hands, the ‘mob’ culture is likely to become a norm. All 29 incidents reported on UCF Helpline No. 1800-208-4545 were mob attacks or threats and intimidation in nature. And the trend of not filing FIRs against violence perpetrators continues as none of these 29 incidents have FIRs registered against them. This shows the tacit understanding between the violence perpetrators and the police which obviously enjoys patronage of local political leaders or officials.

Uttar Pradesh continues to witness highest number of incidents of violence against Christians. Out of 29 incidents reported in January, 2019, nine are from Uttar Pradesh. Modus operandi followed in all 9 cases are same. A mob accompanied by the police arrives at the prayer service shouts slogans, beats up the congregations including women and children. Then the pastors are arrested or detained by the police under the false allegation of conversion. It is amply clear that there are some forces which is working behind this well-planned act of hatred against a particular community to create polarization.

In Chhattisgarh, the Gondwana community first convened a meeting and decided to excommunicate those who attend Christian prayer service from their village. Then they barged into a prayer meeting brutally beating up injuring 10 Christians including women and children. They tore Bibles, damaged musical instruments and a motor bike parked outside the Church.

In some places of Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the Christians were forcefully dragged to Hindu Temples and ashes were smeared on their forehead and they were made to worship Hindu Gods by the mob. There is also an incident, wherein a pastor family going for a Sunday Church service was stopped, abused and falsely accused of conversion by a mob.

In Goa, a single lady was threatened with dire consequences, if she installed a star outside her house by temple authorities.

In Karnataka, a pastor on his bike was hit on his head with iron rod. He was left on the road with severe injuries on his head by a mob. In another incident in Karnataka, the mob set on fire the building materials kept at the site of a Church under construction including a car parked nearby. The pastor of the same Church sleeping outside in open also suffered
burn injury.

There were 26 women and 25 children who were injured in these 29 incidents. Sadly, these incidents have become so common nobody has time to condemn them including political, civil society and religious leaders. There are just about two publications which gave unbiased report.

Mrs. Tehmina Arora, Director of ADF India said: “It is worrying to see these horrendous acts of mobocracy still continuing even after slew of directions to the government from the Supreme Court Bench led by the then CJI Dipak Misra. It is high time special laws are enacted to instill a sense of fear for law amongst those who involve themselves in mob violence”