The constitution of India is one of the main obstacles to curbing persecution of Christians, according to World Watch Monitor, an organisation dedicated to reporting on Christians who are attacked for their faith around the world.
The report says that, according to new information from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, some persecution in India is the responsibility of the legal framework of the country.
Things have deteriorated badly since the election of a new government. 'The situation has worsened since the rise to power of Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist BJP party,' says the report. 'Since 2014, when Modi took power, hate crimes, social boycotts, assaults, and forced conversion [to Hinduism] have escalated dramatically.'
India, home to 1.2 billion people, the majority of whom are Hindu, has had a small but significant Christian presence since the earliest days of the Church. About 2 per cent of the population profess to be Christians – around 27 million people.
USCIRF says these believers are not fully protected by the Indian constitution. 'There are constitutional provisions and state and national laws in India that do not comply with international standards of freedom or religion or belief,' it suggests.
The organisation is also calling for increased awareness and guarantees of the rights of other religious minorities, such as Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains.