We serve Christians around the world whose brave faith in Jesus means they are, beaten, threatened, imprisoned, tortured, falsely accused, disowned and hated.

INDIA: PERSECUTION ON THE RISE DURING CURRENT ELECTIONS

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Christians in many parts of India are witnessing a significant rise in persecution as elections continue across the country. Incidents include physical assaults, arrests based on false allegations, forced ‘reconversion’ to Hinduism and attacks on Christian institutions.

Priya Sharma*, a local Open Doors partner, notes that Christians are among the religious minorities who have been vocally targeted during election campaigning. “Political parties and leaders are giving hate speeches and provocative statements against each other and religious minorities,” she says. Nationwide elections started on 19 April and continue until 1 June.

Sharma continues, “Incidents of persecution are reported every day. Christians are targeted all over India. There is not a single state in India that is safe for Christians. Pastors and believers are attacked, threatened and arrested on false charges, while churches and Christian institutions are attacked or forced to close down. There is continuous hatred and discrimination against the Christian community.”

Central India: attack and false arrest

After a violent attack, you’d hope the police would come to your assistance. For Pastor Ravi* and other believers in Central India, the opposite was true. They were brutally attacked by religious extremists because of their faith – and, instead of being helped by the authorities, they were then arrested. Pastor Ravi and members of his congregation had been falsely accused of forcing people to convert to Christianity.

After a month, the believers were released on bail. But that wasn’t the end of their ordeal. Religious extremists came in a mob to Ravi’s village and threatened Christians there to stop following Jesus. If they didn’t, they would be ostracised by the rest of the community – and even denied access to water and electricity.

Local news reported that around 152 Christians from the village ‘reconverted’ to Hinduism in a ceremony known as ‘ghar wapsi’ or ‘homecoming’. Many believers held on to their faith, while others have fled the village with their families, to escape being forcibly ‘reconverted’. Local Christians report that the current situation is grim and strained. Ravi is under surveillance, yet he continues to visit the believers secretly, strengthening and praying with them.

North India: threats turn to knife attack

In Punjab, Pastor Ramandeep* and his brother Amandeep* have been ministering in their community for the last 13 years. They had done this with minimal opposition for most of that time – but, for the past six months, they have continuously been threatened by extremists to stop the church ministry.

This developed into actual violence recently, when Amandeep was going to his work. Five or six extremists confronted him and attacked him with swords and knives. Ramandeep rushed to defend his brother, and was also attacked. Both men sustained several injuries to their hands.

They were immediately taken to a hospital for treatment. Although a complaint was made to the police, no action was taken against the attackers – this is often the case when Christians report violence. It’s just one of the rising number of attacks against the Christian community in Punjab.

Please keep praying for Indian Christians across the country – they need your prayerful support as they continue to face escalating persecution during this election season.

PRAY NOW...
1

For protection and encouragement for Ravi, Ramandeep, Amandeep and all who take risks to minister to and serve their communities

3

For peace and stability in India during the elections, and for Christians to be united.

2

For local authorities to take threats and violence against Christians seriously, and take action to prosecute or deter persecutors

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