Saffron terror: Christians in India hold clandestine gatherings at night; secret baptism

Saffron terror: Christians in India hold clandestine gatherings at night; secret baptism

ISLAMABAD, Dec 24 (APP): Amidst the festivities of Christmas across the world, the Christians in India have been reduced to holding clandestine religious gatherings and secret baptisms as RSS goons never tolerate the non-Hindu rituals.

Any non-Hindu religion has become a liability in Modi’s India as vicious Hindutva ideology, seeking Hindu domination in India, is the guiding principle for the BJP-led Indian government.

The Christian minorities feel more threatened in central and northern India, where the BJP, governing party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is firmly in control, and where evangelical Christian groups are making inroads among lower-caste Hindus, albeit quietly.

Narrating the account of his ordeal, Pastor Manish David in Indore told New York Times that a swarm of men dressed in saffron poured inside. They jumped on stage and shouted Hindu supremacist slogans. They punched pastors in the head. They threw women to the ground, sending terrified children scuttling under their chairs.

“They kept beating us, pulling out hair,” said Manish David who was also assaulted. “They yelled: ‘What are you doing here? What songs are you singing? What are you trying to do?’”

The attack unfolded on the morning of January 26 at the Satprakashan Sanchar Kendra Christian center in the city of Indore. 

Saffron terror: Christians in India hold clandestine gatherings at night; secret baptism

“Pastors hold clandestine ceremonies at night. They conduct secret baptisms. They pass out audio Bibles that look like little transistor radios so that illiterate farmers can surreptitiously listen to the scripture as they plow their fields,” the New York Times reported.

Under the patronage of the Indian government, Hindu terrorists threaten and kill Christians and vandalize their places of worship with sheer impunity.

Anti-Christian vigilantes are sweeping through villages, storming churches, burning Christian literature, attacking schools and assaulting worshipers. As a result, Indian Christians are forced to hide their faith or perform religious services in secrecy.

Almost 300 million Indian Christians are victims of the Hindu-terrorism. Indian Christians are blamed for religious conversions. The pattern of Christian persecution is often the same.

Saffron terror: Christians in India hold clandestine gatherings at night; secret baptism

To Hindu fanatics, the possibility that some Indians, even a relatively small number, would reject Hinduism for Christianity is a threat to their dream of turning India into a pure Hindu nation.

According to a report by the human rights group, more than 300 attacks on Christians took place in the first nine months of 2021, including at least 32 in Karnataka. But only 30 FIRs have been registered so far in these cases.

The report mentions that September alone recorded 69 such incidents, followed by 50 in August, 37 in January, 33 in July, 27 each in March, April, and June, 20 in February, and 15 in May.

At least nine Indian states have planned anti-conversion laws, including Chhattisgarh, which, activists say, has emerged as a “new laboratory” for anti-Christian hatred in India.

On November 28, 2021, a newly inaugurated church in Delhi faced disruption and vandalism in its first Sunday service when members of a militant Hindu nationalist group called the Bajrang Dal stormed the meeting.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, a government body, recommended that India be put on its red list for “severe violations of religious freedom”.

The report also recommended that the US should impose targeted sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for severe violations of religious freedom by freezing those individuals’ or entities’ assets and/or barring their entry into the United States.

Despite India’s constitutional protections for religious freedom, approximately one-third of India’s 28 states limit or prohibit religious conversion to protect the dominant religion from perceived threats from religious minorities.

While the new legislation in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh targets interfaith marriage in particular, several other states prohibit conversion based on vague criteria, including force, inducement, allurement, coercion, fraud, or misrepresentation.

These anti-conversion laws are too often the basis for false accusations, harassment, and violence against non-Hindus that occur with impunity.

In many cases, authorities did not prevent these abuses and ignored or chose not to investigate pleas to hold perpetrators accountable.

The Washington-based international persecution watchdog Open Doors, has noted that persecution of Christians in India is now “extreme” having increased significantly over the past five years, and has now “remained relatively unchanged for the past year” adding that “the Covid-19 pandemic has offered a new weapon for persecutor”.

On October 21, the Association for the Protection of Civil Rights, United Against Hate, and United Christian Forum jointly released a fact-finding report highlighting the series of attacks on churches and hate speech against Christians across India. The world must act now to halt Christian persecution; otherwise, another genocide is in making and this time Indian Christians will be the target.

APP Digital Report by Ishtiaq Ahmed