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India's Christians are Increasingly Endangered by Mob Attacks


Date:                   May 12, 2020


As part of Family Research Council's growing engagement on international religious freedom, each month we are taking a focused look at one particular country, bearing witness to the abuses our Christian sisters and brothers there are enduring. Together, we'll remember those who are suffering greatly for their Christian faith. We will pray for them and, when possible, act on their behalf.

This month, we are focusing on India.

One night in October 2015, eight armed men forced their way into Pastor Chamu Hassa Purty's house in India's Jharkhand state. The attackers detained the family in their home and shot Pastor Purty many times. He died from his wounds later that night.

On April 16, 2020, assailants knocked on the Purty family's door. One of the daughters, Sharon, answered. "Is this the house of the pastor who was killed?" one of the intruders demanded. He then complained that Christians were still gathering to pray in the village. The assailants shot another daughter, Neelam, in the leg. She survived, but only thanks to major surgery. Although the police were notified, there have been no reports of the gunmen being apprehended as of yet. But such injustice is not all that unusual for Christians living in India today.

A dangerous ideology, Hindu nationalism, is gaining steam in the world's largest democracy. It asserts that India is a nation for Hindus, thereby ostracizing Christians and other minorities.

This movement often inspires mob attacks against Christians, like the Purty family. Such attacks, when committed by Hindus, are rarely rebuked by the government, and the legal system often fails to bring perpetrators of mob violence to justice.

Anti-conversion laws remain on the books in several Indian states. Supposedly intended to prevent forced conversions, in reality, these laws restrict the right to change one's faith and discourage conversion away from Hinduism. Radicals often use supposed "forced" conversions as an excuse to justify mob attacks against Christians.

India is the world's largest democracy and a strategic partner of the United States. What happens in that country matters, and we should be praying and advocating for improvements in the status of religious freedom in India.

Please remember to pray for the Purty family. They are likely experiencing the fear and uncertainly felt by many Indian Christians who live in an increasingly hostile society.

In His Name,

Lela Gilbert
Senior Fellow for International Religious Freedom

Arielle Del Turco
Assistant Director of the Center for Religious Liberty

"Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them..." (Hebrews 13:3)

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