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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 31, New Delhi, July 18, 2020

Violence Against Christians Spreads to 50% of Indian States - 95 incidents of mob violence so far in 2020

Friday 17 July 2020

DOCUMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Delhi – July 13, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown does not appear to have brought much relief to Indian citizens following the Christian faith. The first half of this year has so far witnessed 121 incidents of violence against Christians in 15 states of India as per the recorded data of New Delhi based United Christian Forum (UCF).

The 121 incidents of violence have, sadly, taken the lives of two. Mob violence grew with 95 incidents recorded. Several of the churches which were attacked, were either illegally occupied or sealed shut. An additional 20 incidents of social boycott took place in several areas as well. UCF and its networking partners - Alliance Defending Freedom India (ADF India), Religious Liberty Commission of EFI and Christian Legal Association (CLA) have managed to get 19 churches reopened, 28 pastors released (either on bail or acquitted of false charges) and obtained positive outcomes in 45 cases of false conversion charges in various courts of India.

These incidents reveal the grim reality that the freedom to practice one’s faith is being curtailed in 15 of 28 states in India. Similarly, since 95 out of 121 incidents are mob attacks, mob violence now accounts for over 75% of the various communal crimes, becoming the new norm. UCF is troubled to observe that no political party is taking a strong position against such acts of violence.

Dr Michael Williams, National President of UCF says: “Nobody should be persecuted because of their faith. It is worrying to see these horrendous acts of mobocracy still continuing even after a slew of directions to the government from the Supreme Court Bench. The police and local administration who are responsible for law and order, must take quick action against anyone who involves themselves in mob violence.”

Meanwhile, another new norm, the trend of not filing FIRs against the perpetrators of violence, continues to grow unchecked. Only 20 incidents out of the 121 have FIRs registered against them. Modus operandi followed in all these incidents are similar... a mob, accompanied by the local police, arrives at a prayer service shouts slogans, beats up the men, women and children. Then the pastors are arrested or detained by the police under the false allegation of conversion. Following is the list of States wherein violence against Christians has been reported: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

In Chhattisgarh from where the highest numbers of incidents of violence against Christians are reported (32 incidents), majority of them are of social ostracism wherein the Christian families are threatened to renounce their faith in Christ. Those who resist are denied basic public facilities including drinking water. Some are even thrown out of their own houses.

There were 66 women and 16 children who sustained injuries in the 121 reported incidents. Tribals accounted for 106 of the total injured. The data on record with UCF and its partners shows the dangerous trend of violence against Christians has been steadily increasing. The numbers of incidents recorded in 2014 were below 150; nearly 200 in 2015, over 200 in 2016, crossed 250 in 2017, doubled to 300 in 2018. 2019 witnessed 328 incidents.

To track violence against Christians in India please visit: https://mapviolence.in/

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Inquiries: A C Michael: +91-9818155290 I acmichael[at]ucfindia.org

A C Michael
Former Member of Delhi Minorities Commission
National Coordinator - United Christian Forum (UCF)
National Coordinator - Minority Affairs of All India Catholic Union (AICU)
Vice Chairman - Media & Communication, National Council of YMCAs of India
Partners in Christ - Alliance Defending Freedom India (ADF India)
Independent Director - Touchwood group of Companies
Managing Director - Sirio India Inductive Components Pvt Ltd - Part of Italy based Sirio Group
Mobile: +91-9818155290
UCF Toll Free Helpline Number: 1800-208-4545

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