Rising Persecution: Indian Christians Face Escalating Violence and Persecution

Farrukh Saif

May 10, 2024


In a deeply concerning trend, India’s Christian community has been dealing with an alarming escalation of violence, systematic Persecution, and blatant violations of their fundamental rights.

The recent surge in incidents of persecution has sent shockwaves through the Christian community, raising grave concerns about the loss of religious freedom and the safety of one of the world’s largest Christian populations.

2023 And 2024 Statics:

The statistics paint a horrific picture. In 2023, a staggering 601 cases of persecution against Christians were reported across India, marking a 45% increase from the previous year. As the new year dawned, the situation showed no signs of abating, with the United Christian Forum (UCF) documenting 161 additional incidents of violence against Christians across 19 states in just the first three months of 2024.

The states of Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh have emerged as major hotspots, with 47 and 36 cases, respectively, during this period. Alarmingly, over 30 pastors have been arrested or detained under controversial anti-conversion laws in Uttar Pradesh alone, while a total of 122 Christians have faced arrests or legal cases based on allegations of “forced conversions.”

The year 2023 witnessed an “unprecedented” crackdown, with 440 pastors and church members detained in Uttar Pradesh, predominantly over baseless accusations of forced religious conversions. This systematic targeting of religious church leaders and congregants has sent shockwaves through the Indian Christian community, raising concerns about the loss of their fundamental rights and the rule of law.

The persecution has taken on various forms, ranging from physical violence to legal harassment. In many videos on social media, it has been observed that Pastors have been brutally beaten with iron rods, mob attacks have disrupted worship services, and armed extremists have assaulted and encouraged sexual assault on Christian women in states like Jharkhand.

The intersecting pressures of Christian persecution and pre-existing societal discrimination have made vulnerable groups, such as Dalits, tribal Adivasis, and Christian women, particularly susceptible to these heinous acts.

Protest of Christians:

In response to the escalating crisis, around 15,000 Christians from 70 denominations took to the streets of New Delhi in February 2024, demanding government intervention and protection against the ongoing persecution. Their voices echoed the sentiments of millions of Christians across the country, who fear for their safety and the future of their faith in a nation that prides itself on its secular values and religious diversity.

Anti-Conversion Laws:

The resurgence of Hindu nationalism and the controversial anti-conversion laws in several states have been cited as major contributing factors to the rise in persecution. These laws, ostensibly aimed at preventing forced conversions, have been criticized for their ambiguity and potential for misuse, often leading to the criminalization of legitimate religious activities and the curtailment of individual freedoms.

International Concern:

As India struggles with this grave challenge, the international community has expressed deep concern over the deteriorating situation. Human rights organizations and religious freedom watchdogs have called upon the Indian government to take decisive action to protect its Christian citizens, uphold the principles of religious freedom enshrined in the constitution, and foster an environment of tolerance and respect for all faiths.

The road ahead is fraught with challenges, but the spirit and determination of India’s Christian community remain unwavering. Their struggle for justice, equality, and the right to practice their faith without fear or persecution is a testament to the enduring spirit of religious freedom and the universal values of human dignity and respect.

Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.


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