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India: Christians must pay fines for not taking part in Hindu festivals before they’re allowed to bury their dead

Persecution of Christians in India: radical Hindu nationalists often believe that Christianity is a foreign faith that has no place in India. Open Doors notes: “The view of the Hindu nationalists is that to be Indian is to be Hindu, so any other faith — including Christianity — is viewed as non-Indian. Also, converts to Christianity from Hindu backgrounds or tribal religions are often extremely persecuted by their family members and communities.”

Hindu nationalists maintain this belief despite the fact that the Christian presence in India goes back to the time of the apostles, when St. Thomas brought the Holy Gospel there.

As a result, Open Doors’ World Watch List ranks India as the 10th worst country for Christians. Yet Christianity continues to grow in the country, which leads Hindu radicals to feel increasingly threatened and lash out more frequently, generally with little or no pushback from law enforcement officials.

Please pray that peace would prevail for the Christians in India, and that the light of Holy Orthodoxy would again dawn in this land.

For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in India, see here.

“Christian families in India banned from burying their dead,” by Anugrah Kumar, Christian Post, June 8, 2020:

Villagers in the east-central state of Chhattisgarh are not allowing Christians to bury their dead until they pay fines for not taking part in Hindu festivals and rituals. Attacks on the minority community in India continue despite the COVID-19 lockdown.

Christians faced stiff opposition to burying their dead in three separate incidents in the districts of Bastar and Dantewada in Chhattisgarh state last month, Alliance Defending Freedom India reported.

The Christians were told to make “restitution” for not partaking in or giving donations for religious rituals in those villages for all the years gone by, and pay an additional fine before their dead would be allowed to be buried….

Since 2019, the group has recorded at least 15 confirmed incidents of Christians being denied burial rights in Chhattisgarh state.

After the group’s legal team intervened, “the Christians were provided police protection, and in some cases even provided land by the government, for the burials to take place.”

In April, when India was under a nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, the world’s strictest, at least six incidents of targeted violence against Christians took place in Chhattisgarh, according to ADF India. In the majority of incidents, Christians were physically attacked by mobs of at least 50 people when they refused to take part in religious rituals that violated their faith.

On April 17, villagers in Chhattisgarh state’s Mendoli area severely assaulted a Christian family, including tearing off the clothes of the victim’s wife, and forcefully performed a “sanctification ritual” on them, the U.K.-based Christian charity Barnabas Fund said, adding that the mob then demanded a fee of 5,000 Indian rupees ($66) and threatened to kill the family if they informed the police….

In the western city of Mumbai, which is among the worst-hit by the coronavirus outbreak in India, Christian cemeteries didn’t have a place for the burial of coronavirus victims until recently due to the absence of official notification, according to The Times of India, which reported that Christian victims of COVID-19 had no option but to cremate their dead….

The civic authorities finally allotted space in four Christian cemeteries for the burial of coronavirus victims, the Times said….

According to India’s own population data, the conspiracy of mass conversions to Christianity does not hold up, says the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern. “In 1951, the first census after independence, Christians made up only 2.3% of India’s overall population. According to the 2011 census, the most recent census data available, Christians still only make up 2.3% of the population.”…

“The view of the Hindu nationalists is that to be Indian is to be Hindu, so any other faith — including Christianity — is viewed as non-Indian. Also, converts to Christianity from Hindu backgrounds or tribal religions are often extremely persecuted by their family members and communities,” Open Doors added.

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