Attacks on Indian Christians and their places of worship have continued to escalate in both number and severity in the early months of 2020, with 27 violent incidents reported in March alone.
United Christian Forum in India, a Christian organization that advocates on behalf of Christians in India, documented 56 threats against Christians as well as 78 incidents of violence between January and March of 2020.
According to UCF, these attacks took place in Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Goa. In most cases, the attacks were perpetrated by mobs objecting to Christians holding worship services.
On March 12, a mob attacked a pastor and his 6-year-old son because they were running a house church. The mob reportedly forced the pastor’s 8-year-old daughter to strip and threatened to beat her to death if she did not comply.
On March 15, a mob of 300 individuals attacked a church service in Kunda Thana, located in India’s Uttar Pradesh state. There, the pastor of the church was beaten by the police and falsely charged with using the church for criminal offenses.
Persecution watchdog International Christian Concern warns that while India’s national lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down the number of attacks on Christians, such attacks will likely return when the lockdown is eventually lifted, Christian Post reports.
“More must be done in India to secure the rights of the country’s Christian minority and bring the perpetrators of these attacks to justice,” says ICC.
India is ranked 10th on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The organization says that Christians in the country face “horrific” levels of violence from extremists, with thousands of attacks taking place every year.