ASIA/INDIA – In the midst of the pandemic, violence against Christians does not stop

New Delhi – In the first five months of 2021, in 151 days of the current year, despite the serious pandemic situation, 127 episodes of violence against Christians took place in India: says to Agenzia Fides “United Christian Forum” , reporting the data obtained from the special “Toll-free number”, a telephone line activated to monitor incidents of violence against the faithful in the country. Among the complaints registered on the toll-free number by Indian Christian citizens, there are attacks by mobs or threats and intimidation of various kinds, for reasons of religious affiliation. “Furthermore, there is a tendency not to file the First Information Report , the official complaint handed to the police, which was presented only in 15 cases out of 127 episodes of violence”, notes to Fides A.C. Michael, a lay Catholic and leader of the UCF. According to data sent to Fides, the state of Chhattisgarh, in central India, leads the count of the largest number of accidents , while 17 cases occurred in Karnataka and Jharkhand. Religious violence, it highlights, can be exacerbated by the conditions of poverty and destitution caused by the pandemic, across the national territory.
555 women, 120 dalits and 189 tribals were injured in these incidents. The incidents of religious violence, notes the UCF “have become so common that no one feels the need to condemn them anymore, including political, civil society and religious leaders”, says Michael, signaling the danger of indifference. Thanks to the interventions of lawyers and volunteers who provide free legal and social assistance, in the first six months of the current year 28 places of worship or prayer meetings have been reopened while 66 Christian faithful arrested by the police have been released. UCF, based in New Delhi, is an organization that promotes fundamental and civil rights and is an interfaith Christian body that fights for the rights of the Christian minority. It works with network partners such as Alliance Defending Freedom India, Religious Liberty Commission of Evangelical Fellowship of India and Christian Legal Association. Together, these organizations promote human rights and religious freedom in India. According to the 2011 census, there are 966 million Hindus, 80% of India’s 1.3 billion population. Muslim citizens are 172 million , while Christians are 29 million, 2.3%.

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