Attacks on Christian communities give rise to concerns of deteriorating religious freedom in India


Violence and persecution against Christians in India continue to escalate, as two communities in India were separately attacked on Sunday by non-Christian locals.

According to Asia News, Global Council of Indian Christians President Sajan K. George said that the attacks occurred in the communities of Madhav Nagar (Bihar), and Kushulanagar in the State of Karnaka.

In Madhav Nagar, George said that Bajrang Dal activists broke into a Protestant prayer service attended by 50 people and led by a Rev Kamlesh. The activists accused Kamlesh of forcibly converting locals to Christianity, and beat up some of the attendees of the prayer service. The activists also attacked the musical instruments used in the service, damaging them as well.

Asia News quoted a police officer in Madhav Nagar saying that they "found no evidence for [the] allegations" against Rev Kamlesh. The Hindu reported also that two people have been taken into custody in relation to this event.

The second incident in Kushulanagar involved a Rev. K.J. Mathai, who serves in the Pentecostal Gospel in Action Fellowship Church. Rev. Mathai was conducting a prayer service when police officers arrived to take him in for questioning. The officers agreed to allow the service to conclude before escorting the pastor and some of his church fellows to the station.

According to George, the police told Rev. Mathai's group that they received a "forced conversion" complaint filed by non-Christian locals. Police eventually released the Reverend but not without warning him to "be careful."

"In secular India, freedom of worship is deteriorating for Christians," said George.

Violence and persecution against Christians in India has escalated in the past months. Last month, the Washington Post reported that right-wing groups had attacked the Hindu village of Aligarh, where they desecrated a Christian church and turned it into a temple of Shiva.

A right-wing Hindu, Rajeshwar Singh Solanki, told The Post that his group aimed to make sure both Islam and Christianity will "cease to exist" in the country.

In concluding his statement, George lamented the lack of laws protecting Christians from persecution.

"Two attacks on the same day, in two different states of the country, are proof that extremist groups feel encouraged to attack Christians because they are not restrained by the law," he said.