India: Hinduism On The Rise, Increasing Persecution Of Christians As Elections Near


Pastor-Hemachandra-Hebal-and-wife-ElizabethHinduism in India is experiencing a rival and, as a result, persecution of Christians is increasing. Religious leaders are watching the situation closely as elections are scheduled for April.

India sees a rise of religious discrimination as election nears. Pastor Hemachandra Hebal and wife Elizabeth were attacked and beaten in 2013.

Todd Nettleton, a spokesman with the Voice of the Martyrs USA, agrees, especially with election season under full swing. “Elections are a time, obviously, when emotions are running high, particularly with some of the Hindu nationalist ideology that is espoused by some of the parties involved. It CAN be a time where we see increased persecution, not only for Christians, but for Muslims and for other religious minorities in India, as well.”

Attacks on the religious minorities in India have been increasing over the last several years, unnoticed by the mainstream press. Local authorities are not only helping, but partnering with these religious extremists.

For example, in October a Christian pastor and wife were attacked, beaten and then forced by police (not their attackers) to stop preaching the gospel. Check out that story HERE

“Anti-conversion laws” have been adopted in five states and are frequently used as a pretext to disrupt church services and harass Christians.

The Election Commission of India announced that the vote will begin on April 7 and continue on nine separate dates until May 12, with results expected to be announced on May 16. By virtue of the size of India and its population, the vote will be the world’s largest, with 814 million eligible voters set to choose 543 members of the lower house of Parliament, possibly making this vote the most consequential since 1977.

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) enjoys a lead in the popular opinion polls, some analysts think no party is expected to win an outright majority in Parliament.

Nettleton says, “The election of the BJP, which holds to sort of a ‘Hindu-only’ ideology for India, would be a bad signal for our Christian brothers and sisters there. They are very concerned about what a [Narendra] Modi government would do, what policies they would put in place with regard to religious freedom.”

Christian Persecution, Sexual Assaults and Mob Attacks Going Unpunished in India


February 12, 2014|8:02 am

Christians are being persecuted, sexually assaulted and attacked by mobs in India, and the crimes are going unpunished, according to testimony by Alliance Defending Freedom before the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday.

“India, in spite of its long tradition for religious tolerance, finds itself in the throes of religious fundamentalism and violence against religious minorities for the past few decades. Reports by faith-based rights agencies show that Christians in India have suffered about 150 violent attacks on an average in the past few years,” argued ADF attorney Tehmina Arora before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations.

“These attacks include physical and sexual assaults, murder and desecration of places of worship and graveyards.”

Arora listed several examples of Christians being violently attacked by Hindu extremist groups, but the full extent of the persecution is revealed when taking into account the lack of police action on such crimes.

“This large scale impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of mob violence across the country has fueled violence against religious minorities in India,” the ADF attorney said, and reminded the subcommittee of a particularly violent incident Christians suffered in the Kandhamal district of the eastern state of Orissa (now known as Odisha) in 2008, where between 75 to 123 people were killed, close to 5,000 houses were destroyed and at least 264 churches and prayer halls were desecrated and demolished.

Christians are a strict minority in the Hindu-dominated country, making up around 2.3 percent of the population, according to the CIA Factbook. The rising wave of persecution they have had to suffer through in recent years has been well documented by watchdog groups.

Police File Case Against Christians Fleeing Hindu Extremist Attack

A police station official in India’s Jharkhand state this month reviled Christians who sought protection after Hindu extremists beat and threatened to kill them for refusing to convert to Hinduism, area church leaders said.

Accusing Christian leaders of forcible conversion, the Hindu extremists earlier this month attempted to forcibly convert several church members after disrupting a home worship service, beating them and parading them half-naked through the street, area pastor Rampath Nath told Morning Star News.

Police subsequently registered a case of forcible conversion against four Christians, he said.

Virender Singh, the police official at the station in Patratu Thana, Ramgarh District, verbally abused the Christians who fled their homes, rebuked them and sent them away without taking their complaint after the Hindu extremists beat them on two consecutive days, stripped off their clothes and chased them from Pali village, Nath said.

Some 10 Hindu extremists stormed into the March 4 worship meeting at the house of pastor Tilas Bedia at 7 p.m. and began beating the Christians, including the pastor’s 60-year-old mother, Christian leaders said.

“The extremists asked the Christians why they are following Christ when they should be worshipping their tribal god and threatened to kill them if they continued to follow Christ,” Nath said. “They left after they told the Christians that they will teach them a lesson the next day.”

September 15 – Court in India Questions State’s ‘Anti-Conversion’ Law

NEW DELHI, September 15 (Compass Direct News) – The High Court of northern India’s Himachal Pradesh state on Monday (Sept. 12) questioned one of the many disputed provisions in the state’s “anti-conversion” law in a lawsuit filed by a Christian group. “One of the two judges immediately recognized that there should be no question of the district magistrate [administrative head] granting permission or conducting an inquiry into whether a person’s faith is genuine,” a representative of the Evangelical Fellowship of India’s Advocacy Department, the main petitioner, told Compass. The source quoted the judge, Justice Surjit Singh, as saying, “If I am dying and I want to change my religion, will I wait for some babu [official] to tell me I can do it?” The mandatory provision in the “Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act of 2006” to advise authorities of one’s intended conversion 30 days before one converts was one of the many clauses cited as being “contrary to law, arbitrary and against the basic tenets of jurisprudence” by the petitioners. At the same time, both judges seemed concerned about alleged inducements to convert, “and the biggest hurdle is to overcome this prejudice,” the source added. The court scheduled the next hearing for Sept. 26, requesting the state’s head attorney appear to before it. “We expect the court to hear both sides,” the source said. “However, a final ruling in the matter cannot be expected immediately.”

Walking “the Walk”

A Vision India pastor was was attacked by a mob of radical Hindus just a few kilometers from his home in Takabali this past July. He was left, sprawled on the road, with a broken leg. This was not the first time this leg had been broken. During the persecution in 2008, this pastor’s home in Padhanpada, was destroyed along with his belongings. The villagers beat him and the village leaders refused to allow him to re-build on his property. He moved his family to a village eight kilometers away, but daily he walked to his former village to minister to the people. It was during one of these treks that he was attacked and his leg was first broken when he was jumped by angry Hindus. The surgery needed to restore his leg was provided through the Vision India emergency fund. Prayers for healing went up and he made a quick recovery. Now that his leg has been broken a second time, he is, currently, unable to walk and in great pain This pastor covets prayers of recovery and safety for his family. He is eager to once again walk “the walk” and share the good news with those who have never heard.

July 6 – Homes On Fire For Jesus Christ

A single room thatched hut, the home of a Vision India pastor in the Gajapati district, was burnt to the ground on the morning of July 6th by Hindu extremists. All of their earthly belongings were destroyed. The pastor and his wife were ministering in a nearby village at the time of the raid. Four other huts in the district were also set fire and destroyed – all homes of fellow believers. There is no report of any physical harm. Neighbors who witnessed the crimes were restrained by fear to intervene. Our Indian brothers and sisters are now living in the ruble of what were their homes. Still, they continue taking care of their fellow believers and teaching the Word of God daily. Vision India has provided clothing and immediate personal needs, but would like to help them re-build. The materials to rebuild a hut and provide basic items (cooking utensils and blankets) will cost approximately $600.

August 19 – India Protesters Push For Change

India (MNN) — Recent protests in India brought the question of whether or not the country could risk facing its own “Arab Spring.” Dave Stravers with Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India says, “India is fed up with governmental corruption and injustice. They’re demanding a new standard of accountability and a new standard for actions from government officials.” While there are some parallels with the Arab Spring, Stravers thinks that India’s diversity will take it a different direction. “There have been non-violent protests, demonstrations at government buildings. I think this is actually good news. I attribute this, partly at least, to the success that the Gospel has had in the last 10-15 years in India.” The message of the Gospel brings hope, and hope brings change. “When people learn that there’s a God who loves them, that they’re human beings, and that they have potential, then there’s a whole change, a kind of a transformation in attitude.”

August 17 – Pastor Ordered to Close Church

Chhattisgarh, India, August 17 (Compass Direct News) – After receiving a letter from Hindu extremists demanding the closure of Grace Church in Dhamtari, district government officials on Aug. 6 stopped the church’s worship service, warning those present that they could be attacked if they continued to hold services in the area. The Global Council of Indian Christians reported that the officials warned that if there is anymore Christian worship at Grace Church, the Christians would be responsible for any subsequent rioting. The church, led by Pastor Rohit Sahu, discontinued meeting, but area Christian leaders are taking steps to solve the matter.

August 3 – Police Arrest Pastor and His Evangelistic Team

Andhra Pradesh – In Ramagundam, Karimnagar, police on Aug. 3 arrested a pastor, five of his evangelistic team members and a local bystander after Hindu extremists filed a complaint against them of forceful conversion. All India Christian Council representative Moses Vattipalli told Compass that the Christian team was on an evangelistic outreach that included scrawling Bible verses on the rocks of a hill near a Hindu temple when the extremists appeared and began verbally abusing them, took their cell phones and beat them. The assailants forced the Christians to erase the Scripture verses and manhandled an onlooker who had been reading them, according to Vattipalli. Six Christians and the bystander were charged with promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and were sent to the district sub-jail of Karimnagar, he said, adding that they were released on bail after two days.

July 31 – Hindu Mob Beats Christians

Uttarakhand – A mob of about 300 Hindu extremists in Makhdoompur on July 31 beat Christians at a church service and accused Pastor Bachan Singh of forceful conversion. The All India Christian Council (AICC) reported that as the church was about to take the Lord’s Supper, a large mob of Hindu extremists gathered, accusing the congregation of forceful conversion. Those the extremists beat included women and children as the extremists demanded that the Christians stop all church activities, according to the AICC. Local police arrived after about 25 minutes and stopped the commotion, and no one was seriously hurt.