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Mounting claims of Christian persecution in India rise to country’s Supreme Court

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Reports of increasing persecution of Christians in India have reached the country’s Supreme Court, which last week ordered eight Indian states to examine the claims of Christian groups that filed petitions for protection. I was.

A petition filed by Archbishop Peter Machado, the National Federation of Nations Forum, and the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) said that nearly 500 attacks against Christians would be reported in 2021, and about 200 in the first five months of 2022. attacks were reported. Christians pleaded. For both federal investigations and police protection of the Church.

The Indian government has dismissed such allegations as based on “half-hearted and selfish facts and selfish articles and reports … mere conjecture”, driving petitioners to “some hidden oblique I speculated about the agenda of Hindustan TimesTherefore, before handing down its ruling, the High Court has ordered the Chief Secretaries of India’s eight states to compile information on the case and send a report to the Federal Home Office within four months.

The petition from Indian Christians comes amid increasing attacks against them by far-right Hindu groups as several Indian states passed so-called “anti-conversion” laws. Such laws are ostensibly intended to prevent forced conversion from one religion to another, but critics say they are used to violate religious freedom guaranteed in the Indian constitution. It is claimed that

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Christian nuns demonstrate against the introduction of a bill protecting the right to religious freedom in Bengaluru, India, December 22, 2021.
(Abhishek Chinnappa/Getty Images)

published the report On 13 December 2021, EFI’s Religious Freedom Commission said constant debate from the government over anti-conversion laws had encouraged anti-Christian vigilantes and created an “atmosphere of fear and anxiety” among India’s Christian community. claimed to have created

India’s 1.4 billion people, 80% of the population, are overwhelmingly Hindu and over 10% Muslim. According to an international humanitarian non-profit organization, India has an estimated 30-70 million Christians, which is about 5% of the minority, but the government does not release accurate statistics on the Christian population. . voice of the martyr.

of prayer guide It has been released annually, with Martyr Voice calling India a “hostile” country, with “Hindu nationalist informants living in nearly every village and reporting on Christian activities.” and has led to attacks and arrests.”

Christian churches in India have been demolished and set on fire, services have been disrupted, Bibles confiscated and pastors beaten, imprisoned or killed, according to the Persecution Watch. Clergymen facing legal troubles often face accusations of being forced to convert to Christianity, which are later proven to be false.

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Christians touch the cross at Mount Mary Church on the eve of the Mount Mary Fair in Bandra, Mumbai, India, September 10, 2022.

Christians touch the cross at Mount Mary Church on the eve of the Mount Mary Fair in Bandra, Mumbai, India, September 10, 2022.
(Vijay Beit/The Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

In an interview with Fox News Digital last year, Archbishop Joseph D’Souza said he was concerned about India’s image in the world as attacks against Christians escalated.

D’Souza, archbishop of India’s Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd, said the country had “an open season of attacks against Christian minorities”.

“This is ultimately not about Christians or Christian communities in India,” D’Souza said. “Ultimately, it’s about the rights of lower caste and untouchable people.”

Noting the attraction that Christianity has to society’s outcasts, he describes the ongoing attack as “those people exercising whatever rights they have, including whether to believe or not.” We see it as a concerted effort from the upper-caste Hindu elite who are unwilling to do so.” To stay in the caste system or not to stay in the caste system. “

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Todd Nettleton, head of media relations for Martyrs’ Voice, said he was not surprised by the Indian government’s dismissal of claims of persecution of Christians, saying that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi had heard from Rashtriya Swayamsebak San (RSS) how told Fox News Digital how it appeared on He is one of the major Hindu nationalist organizations in India.

Nettleton wondered if Modi would approve of the persecution of Christians in his country, noting that members of his own government refer to India as “Hindustan” or “the land of Hindus”. ing.

President Joe Biden will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Oval Office on September 24, 2021.

President Joe Biden will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Oval Office on September 24, 2021.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“Anti-conversion laws are part of the story,” Nettleton said. “But even without the law and the government sanctioning Christians, a radical Hindu who attacks Christians knows he is acting on the will of the government and his I know I am unlikely to face a violently motivated prosecution for my crimes.”

Nettleton said his organization has also received reports of a “national anti-missionary network” distributing cards with phone numbers if they witness Christian missionary activity. “Then they send people in to make trouble for Christians doing outreach, like legal troubles and physical threats,” he added.

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Nettleton said it was difficult to predict the Supreme Court of India’s ultimate reaction to the Christian petition. “There are stances within the government against everything but Christianity and Hinduism, so I hope the Supreme Court follows the law and upholds religious freedom, but everything else It’s hard to feel very hopeful when you see what’s happening in India.”

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