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INDIA: SCHOOLS TOLD TO REMOVE CHRISTIAN SYMBOLS

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Last month (February 2024), Christian institutes, churches and schools in the north east of India were given an ultimatum of 15 days to remove any Christian elements. A Hindu nationalist group from Assam posted signs demanding that crosses, as well as images of Jesus and Mary, be removed.  

The president of the Hindu nationalist group responsible for imposing the restrictions on schools said: “Christian missionaries are converting schools and educational institutes into religious institutes. We will not allow it”.

If schools fail to comply with these demands, they will will face direct consequences. Local partners have also mentioned that priests and nuns serving in Christian schools are also being told to stop wearing cassocks and observing religious practices like prayer on school campuses. The Hindu nationalist group has accused them of promoting Christianity in schools through the display of such Christian symbols.   

Open Doors local partner Anjali Lhing says:

“It is disheartening to see the conditions of the educational system currently. The school is not a religious playground. Religious radicals are saffronising (a policy approach in India that tries to implement a Hindu nationalist agenda) the syllabus by criticising minority religions and favouring Hinduism in the education system. Students’ minds are polluted and misled against minority religions. A wave of religious intolerance can be seen in most of the north eastern states.”  

Schools are appealing to the police for protection as religious fanatics are posing threats to the institutions.  

Can prayer for healing be illegal?

In the north east Indian state of Assam, the local government has approved a controversial bill that will prevent people from conducting faith healings. Offenders may be fined or imprisoned.  

That means Christians and churches that offer to pray for people who are sick or unwell, could face fines and prison sentences.

The Chief Minister of Assam says they want to ‘curb evangelism in Assam’, calling this new move ‘an important milestone’. However, local church leaders disagree, saying the bill is ‘misguided and misleading’.

“We don’t simply go around healing — it is part of our prayer,” says President of the Assam Christian Forum, John Moolachira. “We have healing prayers like every other religion — when sick people come, we pray for them; individually, or by asking them to stand together in a group. We don’t do magic to heal people. Why the government is making it illegal and punishable is what we don’t understand.”  

In a statement, The Assam Christian Forum said: “Healing… is a compassionate response to human suffering, irrespective of religious affiliations.” The statement goes on to say that prayer is a universal practice across religions, and that the Indian constitution guarantees the right to practise one’s chosen religion.

PRAY NOW...
1

That God will comfort and strengthen Christians in India and give them wisdom

3

For the church in India to continue to be a source of light and love in the nation.

2

That God will thwart the plans of Hindu extremists and prevent these new bills from coming to pass

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