Indian Christians Plead for Protection During Holy Week, Easter

REUTERS / Adnan AbidiA woman holds her baby as she sits outside a church in New Delhi July 6, 2008.

A group representing India's Christian minority recently issued a statement to a religious publication pleading for protection during Holy Week.

The Global Council of Indian Christians sent a statement to Fides News Agency declaring that "protection is necessary during Holy Week" in light of rising violence against Christian communities in the South Asian nation.

"The community fears an organized attack against Christian faithful and churches during Holy Week. As Christians, participating in the liturgies of the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we ask for protection and security for our defenseless community," stated the GCIC.

Although the nation of India officially recognizes religious freedom, in recent times a wave of religious intolerance towards non-Hindu communities has been documented.

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REUTERS / Anindito MukherjeeDemonstrators shout slogans as they hold placards during a protest outside a church in New Delhi February 5, 2015.

Open Doors USA, a Christian persecution watchdog group, ranked India at number 17 on its 2016 World Watch List of countries with the worst persecution of Christians.

The watchdog group attributed this rise in Christian persecution to the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party government, which occurred in May 2014.

"As a result, radical Hinduism, which was already present under the previous government, has increased steadily," stated Open Doors USA.

"While intolerance has risen, and minorities are constantly attacked, the central government has refused to speak out against the atrocities – thus further encouraging the radical Hindus to step up their actions. The level of impunity has gone up markedly for those who push for a completely Hindu India."

Perry Chiaramonte of Fox News noted that according to various report since the first day of 2016 "there have been 26 documented incidents of religiously motivated violence against Christians spread across the subcontinent …"

"Incidents of violence against Christians have always existed in one form or another, but were usually limited to a particular region or issue," reported Chiaramonte.

"However, the violence has begun to spread with Hindu radicals enjoying near complete impunity for their actions."