International Institute for Religious Freedom

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Christian Groups Susceptible to Violence in India

Inida: Half-Yearly Persecution Report 2012

By: The Evangelical Fellowship of India

Date: 06.08.2012

The Evangelical Fellowship of India is deeply concerned at the uninterrupted and increasing hostility against the Christian minority community in the country. EFI recorded 79 instances of violence in the first seven months of this year which were marked by intimidation, harassment, false accusation, arrests and jailed, church being locked up and physical attacks.

The southern state of Karnataka once again recorded the most number of attacks against the community with 19 instances of violence and hostility. The central Indian state of Chhattisgarh saw an increase number of 14 instances of violence and with 9 incidents, Madhya Pradesh have the third highest rates of attacks closely followed by the new entry of the southern state Tamil Nadu with 8 incidents.

As a norm, the police failed to arrest even a single person in connection with the incidents, inspite of repeated appeals from both local and national human rights agencies and the appeals from the victims, themselves. In some instances, Christians were being coerced by government agencies into accepting a compromise with the attackers and even submitting to demands such as leaving the village or area, or would not conduct worship services in their homes or paying a fine for practicing their faith.

In most of the instances, after the preliminary disruption of church or worship services, Christians including women were abused and physically assaulted. Later the Christians were arrested on the charges of "forcible conversions".

The blatant disregard for the law by alleged Hindutva proponents, coupled with the inaction and often bias of the police in favour of the attackers, has left the community vulnerable and helpless in the onslaught of violence.

It is also a blot on the country’s secular credentials that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom 2012 Annual Report again places India on its Watch List.

Recommendations:

- EFI recommends that the State Governments, especially the government of Karnataka, take immediate steps to ensure the protection of the Christian minority community within the state.
- EFI recommends the Government of Karnataka withdraw false and malicious cases registered against Christians in the state and direct the police to investigate the motive and focus of the complainant before registering any complaint against Sections 153, 295 and 295A of the Indian Penal Code.
- EFI recommends the Central Government enact the Prevention of Communal Violence Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011, after due consideration to the concerns raised by civil society.

Find the full report here.




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