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India: President concerned over attacks on Christians

Today the Malankara Orthodox Church of the East remains in India, an apostolic Church that broke with Holy Orthodoxy over the Council of Chalcedon in 451. There is also a small number of Orthodox Christians under the jurisdiction of the the Holy Metropolis of Singapore.

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

“Indian president concerned over attacks on Christians,” by Bijay Kumar Minj, UCA News, April 14, 2023:

Indian President Droupadi Murmu has expressed concern over reports of increasing persecution of Christians and assured community leaders of taking action as the highest Constitutional authority in the country.

Murmu received a delegation of Christian leaders at Rashtrapati Bhawan, her official residence, in New Delhi on April 13. Led by Archbishop Anil Joseph Couto of Delhi, it comprised Methodist Bishop Subodh Mondal, Protestant Bishop Paul Swarup of the Church of North India, and Christian activists Michael Williams and Tehmina Arora.

During the half-an-hour meeting, the president was briefed about the steep increase in the incidents of violence against Christians, especially in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Murmu said she had read reports about the targeting of Christians, however, she believed that these violent attacks were been perpetrated by only a handful of people and stressed that the secular fabric of the nation was still vibrant.

The United Christian Forum (UCF), a group that monitors atrocities against Christians in India, has recorded 598 violent incidents against Christians in 2022 from 21 states among the 28 states and 8 federally ruled territories in the country, said the memorandum presented to the president.

In the first three months of 2023, UCF has reported 187 verified incidents of faith-based violence against Christians.

The incidents of violence include intimidation, mob violence, brutal assault, vandalism of sacred places of worship, sexual violence, closure of churches, social ostracization, denial of burial for the departed, and false reports under anti-conversion laws.

The states of particular concern are Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, and Jharkhand.

The memorandum highlighted the recent series of attacks in the tribal-dominated southern region of Bastar in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, against tribal Christians over allegations of religious conversions.

The memorandum urged the federal and state governments to protect the Constitutional rights of the Christian community, its freedom to practice and propagate the faith, and to live with dignity and without threat to lives and property.

It further called to strengthen human rights monitoring mechanisms and set up national and state redressal mechanisms to address targeted violence against minorities.

The delegations also sought speedy closure of false cases against Christians, reconstruction of illegally demolished churches across the country, strict action against vigilante mobs, and compensation for individuals and institutions who are falsely targeted for their religious identity….

Christians, who make up 2.3 percent of India’s 1.4 billion population, are facing increased persecution from Hindu nationalist groups ever since the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party assumed power in 2014.

India’s Supreme Court is hearing a public interest litigation filed by Christian leaders and organizations seeking directions to the federal and state governments to end the rising persecution of Christians, their priests, and institutions.

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