In India, 135 cases of persecution occurred in the first half of 2020, including a lynching, community ostracization, and the sodomization and murder of two Christian men, a new report has revealed.
According to a new report from the Delhi-based Evangelical Fellowship of India, amid the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, Christians faced more opposition than ever from their communities because of their faith, primarily at the hands of Hindu extremists. Between January and June, numerous reports surfaced of Christians being falsely accused, threatened, and attacked.
Uttar Pradesh, ruled by the Bhartiya Janata Party, topped the persecution scale with 32 cases of hate crimes. Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state in India, with nearly 200 million people. However, only about 350,000 Christians live in the state.
In Odisha’s Kenduguda village in Malkangiri district, a 14-year-old Christian boy was allegedly crushed to death with a stone by a group of people who then chopped the body into pieces before burying the remains in several places. In the report, police noted the victim and his family had adopted Christianity three years before the murder.
In Tamil Nadu, a Christian father and son were tortured, sodomized with rods, and murdered by local police. In Chhattisgarh, there were six documented cases of targeted violence against Christians just in April despite the national lockdown being in place.
In Bastar and Dantewada districts, Christians faced stiff opposition to bury their dead, and in Jharkhand, Christian women were sexually assaulted and others socially ostracized. In Pundiguttu village, Christian converts were ordered to renounce their faith or risk being denied water from the community well and other penalties.
While 135 cases of persecution were reported, the actual numbers might be much larger, notes EFI. Many cases go unreported due to fear among the Christian community, a lack of legal literacy and, the reluctance or refusal of police to register cases.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett