Violence against Christians in India in 2021 was the biggest in history, says the organization

Cristãs fazem orações durante a missa de Natal na Catedral de Chennai, na Índia

A report released is week by the United Christian Forum (UCF), an interdenominational Christian organization that works on behalf of the rights of the Christian minority in India, pointed out that violence against Christians in the country has reached unprecedented heights in 2022.

According to the study, which the UCA News website and Fides Agency (the Pontifical Mission Societies’ information agency) had access to, they were 480 records of violence against Christians during the past year, surpassing the previous record of 292 incidents, which had been verified in 2018. The UCF highlighted that the attacks were also more widespread than those that occurred in previous years, with records in 34 states and two territories of the union.

Since 2014, the numbers of violence against Christians in India grow year by year. The exception was 2019, the year in which the Covid pandemic started , when there was a drop in records; however, they started to grow again the following year.

Check the number of cases year by year:

“ In nearly every incident reported across India, militias made up of religious extremists have raided prayer meetings or arrested individuals they believe were involved in forced religious conversions,” noted the report, which highlighted that impunity exacerbates the problem: formal grievances. ais were registered by the police in only From 486 cases of 2019. The UCF intervened for the release of 127 Christians in jail.

“The weather of hatred that spreads through certain actions and speeches of some groups and the false propaganda about alleged fraudulent conversions seem to incite antisocial elements to the practice of violent acts. The enactment of laws in the name of religious freedom aggravates the situation. It would not be an exaggeration to say that these events are well-orchestrated acts and planned by some groups with the aim of dividing the country on the basis of religious issues”, said UCF leader AC Michael to Fides. Christians represent 2.3% of the Indian population.

Indian states have enacted laws prohibiting religious conversion: Carnathaca, South India, where they were registered 34 incidents of violence against Christians, became at the end of the year the tenth state to pass such a law.

Violence intensifies around Christmas time. Data from the UCF indicate that more than one hundred incidents were registered in the last two months of the year alone.

The day after Christmas, a statue of Jesus Christ was destroyed and the church vandalized in the city of Ambala, in the northern state of Harianá. In Agra, Utar Pradesh state, extremists burned images of Santa Claus outside missionary schools and accused Christian missionaries of using Christmas celebrations to attract people, reports British newspaper The Guardian.