What does persecution look like in India?
Christians around the nation of India find themselves increasingly under threat. This hostility is often driven by an ongoing belief among some Hindu extremists that Indians ought to be Hindu—and any faith outside of Hinduism is not welcome in India. This mindset has led to violent attacks across the country and impunity for the people who perpetrate this violence, especially in places where the authorities are also Hindu hardliners.
More and more states are also implementing anti-conversion laws, creating an environment where any Christian who shares their faith can be accused of a crime, intimidated, harassed and even met with violence. Additionally, this hasn't stopped mass "homecoming" campaigns whereby Hindu nationalists put tremendous pressure on Christian converts from Hinduism, telling them to return to their previous faith.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution?
Christians who convert from Hinduism are the most vulnerable to persecution across India, particularly communities who have faced historical oppression or discrimination such as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Additionally, church leaders and their families can be particular targets in places that are heavily influenced by Hindu extremists.
"Though I was attacked twice, still I can feel God’s protection in my life. I was attacked, yet was not crushed. I will continue to trust my God and serve Him wherever the Lord sends me."Rishi, a church leader in India
What has changed this year?
The world watched in horror as the persecution in India worsened when ethno-religious violence erupted in May 2023 in the northeastern state of Manipur. What began as a dispute between ethnic groups took on a disturbing religious dimension, as Christians were targeted across the ethnic groups. Thousands of Christians were displaced, dozens of churches were burned down and many believers were killed. It was a sobering reminder of how dangerous it can be to be a Christian in India.
India also witnessed mob attacks against thousands of Christians in Chhattisgarh State in January 2023. Thousands of Christians were chased out of their homes and villages. They had to take shelter in indoor stadiums and other locations.
What does Open Doors do to help Christians in India?
Open Doors' local partners strengthen the church in India by providing Bibles, emergency aid, persecution survival training, and livelihood and community development projects.
- The world was horrified by the violence in Manipur State in mid-2023. Ask God to help bring about healing and lasting peace in this troubled region.
- Pray that Hindu nationalists would accept Christians as fellow Indians and allow Indians of all faiths to flourish.
- Ask God to protect and grow His Church in every part of India.
Dear Father, we ask You to be with Your people across India. Help them endure the intense pressure, discrimination and even violence so many of them face. Help us to know how best we can stand with them. We pray for the upcoming elections in India, that You would bring about an openness to allow Your people to follow You in freedom. We ask You to help our sisters and brothers know they aren't alone. We ask all these things in Jesus' name, Amen.