A group of 35 Christians distributing Christian literature in India’s Chhattisgarh state were on October 11, harassed by radical Hindu nationalists and handed over to local police. The Christians were then told that they were no longer allowed to distributed their literature, despite the fact that they had received prior permission from police.
The incident took place in Basuguda village, located in Chhattisgarh. According to Pastor Joseph, a pastor from the Hebron Assembly, the group of 35 Christians were distributing New Testaments and Gospel tracts in the village marketplace when they were confronted by radical Hindu nationalists. The radicals seized the literate and shouted at the Christians with abusive language.
“We had taken permission to do the outreach work, but the radicals behaved ruthlessly,” Pastor Joseph told International Christian Concern (ICC).
Later, the Christians were taken to the local police station. There, they were told by police that they would not be allowed to continue to distributed the New Testaments and Gospel tracts.
“Even though we had permission to do outreach in seven villages, we had to wind up the work after second village,” Pastor Joseph continued. “The police told us that we could not continue. It is sad that the police followed the instruction of the radicals. They were supposed to give us protection and allow us to continue our peaceful work of distribution.”
Across India, attacks on religious minorities continue to rise both in number and in severity. According to a recent report by the Alliance Defending Freedom, Christians in India have already endured 218 attacks in 2019 alone. With local police often siding with the perpetrators of this violence, it is likely that attacks on religious minorities will continue to escalate.
India is ranked 10th on persecution watchdog, Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The country was 31st in 2013, but its position has been worse each year since Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.