World Watch List: 10
Leader: Prim Minister Narendra Modi
Population: 1.36 billion
Christian: 66 million
Main Religion: Hinduism
Government: Federal Republic
Source of Persecution: Religious Nationalism
In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors supports the persecuted church in India through:
- Distribution of Bibles and other Christian literature
- Training for pastors, church workers, women, youth, and children
- Socio-economic development
- Literacy classes for adults
- Emergency aid relief
- Legal help
“Some of our friends go to very sensitive areas. We sometimes face difficult situations. We request for you to pray for us to be safe. Pray for our family members, for their protection. Pray for our believers in India and their safety.”
– Abishek, one of Open Doors’ local partners in India
Source of persecution: Religious nationalism
Horrific levels of violence
Hindu radicals in India view Christians as alien to the nation. They want to cleanse their country from Islam and Christianity, and do not hesitate to use extensive violence to achieve this. This violent aspect of Hinduism began in the 1990s when tolerance towards minorities, religious and cultural diversity started dwindling.
Christians face horrific levels of violence from extremists; thousands of attacks take place every year, but their persecutors are rarely brought to justice. Police officers, in fact, side with the radical Hindus. Mobs raid the homes of Christians, beating them and ordering them to leave their homes and villages.
The anti-conversion law
The state is constantly monitoring Christian activities and has imposed many restrictions on the church (e.g. on foreign funding and missionaries). Besides the current 8 states with anti-conversion laws, more states are considering implementing the same law, which historically have been used disproportionately against Christians. Such laws are often used as an excuse to disrupt church services and harass Christians, and make it incredibly difficult for Christians to share their faith with others. Even being seen at prayer has become risky. Pastors, church leaders and certain members are frequently attacked and arrested with accusations of ‘forced conversion’ of believers from a Hindu background.
Pressure to ‘return’
Converts to Christianity from Hinduism bear the brunt of the persecution in India and are constantly under pressure to return to Hinduism, especially through campaigns knows as Ghar Wapsi (“home-coming”). They are often physically assaulted and sometimes killed. Many in the tribal areas are coming to Christ and they face threats to their lives, social boycott, denial of drinking water, rape, and murder.
- For Christians from a Hindu background who are facing strong pressure to renounce Jesus. Pray that they will stand firm in the faith.
- That the Hindu radicals will be touched by Spirit, and come to know Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
- For believers who have been beaten, tortured, or faced horrible persecution for their faith in Christ. Pray that their physical and emotional wounds will heal quickly.