Anti-Christian Persecution in India Hits New High

At least four cases of Christian persecution in India were reported in the average week this year, according to statistics recently revealed by the president of the All India Catholic Union and others actively monitoring the situation.

AICU leader Dr. John Dayal, who is also a renowned journalist and member of the National Integration Council, said the statistics gathered from Jan. 1 to Nov. 16 show that the number of atrocities against Christians this year, 190, has surpassed the marks of recent years.

The victims include members of almost every church denomination in the country - Catholics, Protestants, and Evangelicals. They include priests, nuns, pastors, wives of pastors, believers, seminarians and Bible school students, and lay persons.

Violence includes attempted murder, armed assault, sexual molestation, illegal confinement and grievous injury.

Dayal noted, however, that the figures "do not include cases that have not come to the notice of the All India Christian Council, the All India Catholic Union, the GCIC, the Evangelical Fellowship of India and the Christian Legal Association."

The list also does not include widespread incidents that were simply categorized as "violence" but which Dayal said certainly bore signs of religious intolerance, bigotry, social discrimination and ostracization.

Nor does it include violence in which Christians are victims together with others, such as the displacement of Tribals due to government action, Dayal added in a statement.

In reality, leaders of the Bharatiya Janata (Indian People's) Party and its mother organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (National Volunteers' Organization), continue an almost daily harangue against the Church while militant frontal organizations such as the Bajrang Dal (Army of Hanuman), the Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and other Hindu nationalist groups peak the anti-Christian hate campaign at a feverish rate, said Dayal.

Most recently, a pastor and members of his church in Eastern India were reportedly attacked and beaten by Hindu radicals with the aid of police officers.

The Global Council of Christians (GCIC) alleges that Pastor Siddarama Gokhavi, 60, and church members were attacked by over 20 Bajrang Dal activists during a Sunday worship meeting in Ananda Nagara, Bihar.

"A slogan-chanting mob, led by Raghavendra, the local goon, came to the church and destroyed worship equipments and unleashed [a] riotous attack," reported the Bangalore-based advocacy group.

In response, the Karnataka police, who were alerted of the incident, dragged Gokhavi and six others to physically torture and injure them, GCIC added.

"The highly motivated radicals burnt Bibles and Christian literatures. In the savage attack, Pastor Gokhavi and his wife, Rekha Gohavi, were taunted and injured," the advocacy group claimed.

The pastor and his family were accused of persuading Hindus to convert to Christianity – the same reason why they have been threatened and detained.

Although the conditions of the pastor and believers are stable, GCIC said it was dismayed and shocked to discover that even senior police officers, including the deputy commissioner of police (DCP), were directly involved with the radicals in what it labeled as a hate crime.