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2021 was the most violent year for Christians in Modi's India

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Violence against Christians in India reached new heights during 2021, according to a new report published by the United Christian Forum (UCF), which recorded 486 incidents of violence against Christians in 2021.

The UCF said 2021 was the "most violent year" for India's Christians who are being attacked and harassed with "impunity".

Mobs are reported to have threatened and physically assaulted Christians during prayer meetings, and handed them over to the police with accusations that they are complicit in forced conversions - a practice outlawed in 10 states across India.

Christians account for only 2.3% of the population in India. The vast majority is Hindu, with Christians reporting a rise in radical Hindu nationalism since Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.

According to UCF, most of the incidents of violence against Christians last year occurred in Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

"In almost all incidents reported across India, vigilante mobs composed of religious extremists have been seen to either barge into a prayer gathering or round up individuals that they believe are involved in forcible religious conversions," the report said.

The increase, year after year, in violence against a completely peaceful Christian community came in the last quarter of 2021 reached alarming numbers.

"The complaints presented reveal that there was more than one attack per day, reaching a total of almost 500 cases of violence in 2021, explains Fides A.C. Michael, the UCF coordinator.

180 incidents in 3 months

In the last three months of 2021 there were more than 180 incidents involving Christians shortly before Christmas. The monthly number of cases of violence was 37 in January, 20 in February, 27 in March, 27 in April, 15 in May, 27 in June, 33 in July, 50 in August, 69 in September, 77 in October, 56 in November and 48 in December.

"The climate of hatred that spreads through certain actions and speeches by some groups and the false propaganda about alleged fraudulent conversions seem to incite antisocial elements to carry out violent acts. The enactment of laws in the name of freedom of religion exacerbates the situation. It would not be an exaggeration to say that these events are well-orchestrated and planned acts by some groups with the aim of dividing the country based on religious issues," observes A.C. Michael in his conversation with Fides.

According to reports in the toll-free number launched by the UCF group, episodes of violence against Christians have been increasing sharply since 2014. They recorded 127 incidents in 2014; 142 in 2015; 226 in 2016; 248 in 2017; 292 in 2018; 328 in 2019; 279 in 2020; and, finally, 486 accidents as of December 30, 2021.

Overall, four states in northern India, Uttar Pradesh (102), Chhattisgarh (90), Jharkhand (44), and Madhya Pradesh (38) recorded 274 incidents of violence against Christians in 2021.

"Christians note that such states do not guarantee a favorable atmosphere for all citizens equally," notes Michael, a former member of the Delhi Minority Commission.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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