World Watch List: 10
Leader: Prim Minister Narendra Modi
Population: 1.35 billion
Christian: 65 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
For the past eight years, persecution against Christians has increased steadily. This year, it has entered the top 10 countries of the World Watch List for the first time.
Empowered to persecute
India’s constitution states that it is a secular nation, but Hindu radicals want Hinduism to be the national religion. To achieve this, they persecute the religious minorities in the country, especially Christians because of their growth in numbers. The ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, is the political wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist, paramilitary, voluntary organization known for its radical Hindu ideology. With the BJP ruling, Hindu radicals in India feel empowered to persecute Christians without fearing any consequences. At least 10 Christians were killed, 12,500 attacked, 207 arrested, and 98 churches attacked. The numbers are likely to be higher as many incidents are not reported.
Conversion illegal in eight states
Two more states have implemented anti-conversion legislation, making a total of eight states in which it is illegal for one to convert to another religion, or for one to proselytise. On the other hand, a “homecoming” campaign was launched nationwide in 2014 to entice Christians and Muslims to convert to Hinduism, and it is still going on strong today.
Christians who are suspected of outreach activities will find their homes raided and Christian materials destroyed or confiscated. Private meetings for worship are not safe too. Believers from a Hindu background experience the most persecution in India. They face harassment on a daily basis and are under constant pressure to return to Hinduism.
- For strength and faith for Hindu background believers who are feeling the pressure to return to Hinduism.
- Pray for God’s provision and protection over Christians who boldly evangelize in the growing number of states with anti-conversion laws. Pray they will be wise in their evangelism efforts.
- Many Christian girls have been put under house arrest by their families. Pray that they’ll be able to hold on to their faith, and also that their families will come to know Christ.