Sadly, the persecution of Christians in India is on the rise. The latest annual report from the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) shows an increase of more than 12.5 percent in recorded persecution against Christians from the previous year, listing 366 incidents in which Christians were targeted in 2019. The 2018 report documented 325 attacks against Christians.
“The frequency of attacks on Christian gatherings are escalating, especially during Sunday morning worship and prayer meetings. Pastors and members are beaten, sometimes so badly that legs are broken, and churches are vandalized. Hundreds of Christians are being imprisoned on false charges of converting Hindus to Christianity.” (2019 Annual Report by Persecution Relief, p28)
A large force behind the rise of persecution is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that is currently in power. The BJP’s goal is to reshape India based on Hindu culture and the Hindutva philosophy (you can read more about Hindutva on page 9). The BJP is highly nationalistic and has been criticized by some for being fascist. They have exhibited little tolerance for minorities in India and have even introduced government-funded programs that try to force Christians to renounce their faith, which they call “coming home”.
Numerous Indian States have passed anti-conversion laws. While the edicts may sound benign, they are often used to further discriminate. The State of Uttarakhand has recently passed a law that allows Christians who share their faith to be imprisoned for up to five years. A Hindu who wishes to convert to Christianity must first get explicit permission from the government. Many converts do not want to identify as Christian because it can result in loss of jobs and being barred from educational opportunities.
The Bible teaches us that persecution will come because of our commitment to Jesus. We who live in the West have not experienced the same persecution as our brothers and sisters in India. Let us take up their burden in prayer and in any other ways the Holy Spirit might lead.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Romans 8:35
WAYS TO PRAY
PRAY FOR Indian Christians to remain strong in the face of threats and fear.
PRAY FOR a more tolerant government to come into power.
PRAY THAT Indian Christians will be a light to those who persecute them.
From The Hindu World Prayer Guide