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India’s bishops: ‘Attacks on Christians now common’

Christianity has been a presence in India since the days of St. Thomas the Apostle. The Indian Orthodox Church, or Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church, severed communion with the Church of Constantinople in 451, over the definition of the natures of Christ at the Fourth Ecumenical Council, the Council of Chalcedon.

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

“India’s bishops: ‘Attacks on Christians now common,’” by Luke Coppen, The Pillar, February 7, 2024:

A body bringing together India’s Latin Catholic, Syro-Malabar, and Syro-Malankara bishops deplored Wednesday increasing attacks on the country’s Christian minority. In a six-page statement issued Feb. 7, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) expressed alarm at rising intolerance in Indian society and political life.

It said: “Attacks on Christians continue to increase in different parts of India. Destruction of homes and churches, harassment of personnel serving in orphanages, hostels, educational and healthcare institutions on false allegations of conversion have become common.”

Christians account for around 2.3% of India’s population, forming the country’s third-largest religious group, after Muslims (14.2%), and Hindus (79.8%).

Roughly a third of Indian Christians — more than 20 million people — are Catholic. They belong to three autonomous particular churches: the Latin Church, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church.

Since 2014, India has been led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In April and May this year, India is scheduled to hold general elections, in which Modi will seek a third term in power.

In January, the advocacy group Open Doors listed India as the world’s 11th worst country in which to be a Christian.

It noted that an increasing number of Indian states were implementing anti-conversion laws, “creating an environment where any Christian who shares their faith can be accused of a crime, intimidated, harassed and even met with violence.”…

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