Humanitarian Groups Say Christian Persecution by Hindu Nationalists Is Rising In India

Christians in India want the government to speak out against religious persecution. (Reuters)
Christians in India want the government to speak out against religious persecution. (Reuters)

The latest extremist attacks against Christians in 2016 thus far have come from an unlikely source.

As Christianity has seemingly been under attack in places like Iraq, Syria, and Africa for over a decade from extremist groups like ISIS and Al Shabaab, the first six weeks of 2016 have seen a fresh outbreak of anti-Christian violence in India with nearly 30 incidents of religiously motivated violence against Christians reported in just over two months.

While it follows a global trend, it’s Hindu nationalists leading efforts of persecution and attacks.

According to various news reports, there have been 26 documented incidents of religiously motivated violence against Christians spread across the subcontinent since Jan. 1. Incidents of violence against Christians have always existed in one form or another, but were usually limited to a particular region or issue.

However, the violence has begun to spread with Hindu radicals enjoying near complete impunity for their actions.

“They are wolves in sheep’s clothing,” Jeff King, president of the International Christian Concern, told “There has been an increase in attacks because these nationalists feel emboldened with [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi in power.

Local police officials took no action against the aggressors in many of the incidents. One such was Jan. 29 in the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu when a mob of over 30 radicals in the village of Ettimadai ruthlessly attacked, beat, and dragged a Catholic priest and three church officials from their car.

All four men tried to flee from the mob but were eventually caught. The mob then dragged and beat them for a mile and a half. Despite pleas for help during the incident, police stood idly by.

All four men were hospitalized as a result, with the priest requiring treatment in the intensive care unit of a nearby hospital.

The group was first approached by the mob while they were waiting in their car outside the police station to speak with authorities regarding the arrest of a priest and two others from an AIDS/HIV clinic run by the church.

Just two weeks earlier, in the Nizamabad District of Telangana State, a local pastor and members of his congregation were savagely beaten by a mob of 40 Hindu radicals after they falsely accused him of trying to convert Hindus to Christianity.

According to locals, the attack occurred during a Christian prayer gathering and resulted in the hospitalization of six, including a four-year-old girl whose leg was broken during the attack.

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Perry Chiaramonte is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at@perrych

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