With over 200 incidents of violence against Christians recorded in the past five months, a watchdog group called for urgent judicial and government intervention.
The ecumenical United Christian Forum (UCF) this week reported 207 new cases of violence against the Christian community recorded in recent months, with at least two incidents per day.
“This data flies in the face of statements by government functionaries and leaders of the ruling parties … that there is no persecution, and that there are only a few stray incidents by fringe elements,” said Michael Williams, UCF president.
The report cited the case of a 65-year-old Christian woman and her son who were threatened with a social boycott if they continue to profess as Christians in the central Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district.
When they refused to renounce their faith, they were attacked. The woman was hospitalized with a head wound and multiple injuries.
Another incident that happened in May was the attack on a pastor who was leading a prayer service in Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur district.
The man was beaten after he was accused of proselytizing. Instead of arresting the assailants, the police arrested the pastor.
The states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Karnataka are among the top areas in the report where most incidents of attacks happened.
In 2021, the UCF documented 505 cases of attacks on Christians, mostly during the Christmas season.
The group said it is ironic that the culprits, many of whom film their acts of vandalism and physical violence on unarmed women and men, “seem to defy the law” while peaceful pastors were arrested on charges of “conversion” during prayer services.
According to the UCF report, more than one incident of attack against Christians have taken place each day so far in 2022.