How many Christians are there in India?
There are 68.9 million Christians in India. This is just about five per cent of the population, which is almost 1.4 billion people.
What does persecution look like in India?
The persecution of Christians in India is intensifying as Hindu extremists aim to cleanse the country of their presence and influence.
The driving force behind this is Hindutva, an ideology that disregards Indian Christians and other religious minorities as true Indians because they have allegiances that lie outside India. It asserts that the country should be purified of their presence.
The COVID-19 pandemic has offered a new weapon to persecutors. In some areas, Christians have been deliberately overlooked in the local distribution of government aid and have even been accused of spreading the virus.
The regions where there is most persecution are the states where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu nationalist party, is a major factor in the state government – but that can change every five years due to elections.
Sumi is a 25-year-old widow whose husband was murdered for his faith.
"If needed I will die for Jesus, but I will never leave Him."Sumi
What has changed compared to last year?
Although there has been a slight reduction in the levels of violence against Christians in India, overall violence remains at an extreme level, and levels of pressure in all spheres of life remain very high or extreme.
A key factor in this is the use of social media. When an extremist Hindu mob attacks Christians, one of the first things they’ll do is snatch the victims’ phones, to stop them from recording the incident. However, the group will record the violence and add it to social media to promote their extremist agenda.
Open Doors works through local partners to strengthen the church in India by providing Bibles, emergency relief aid, persecution survival training, livelihood training and community development projects.
- Give thanks to God that many people are coming to know Jesus after being healed of sickness; pray that this will continue.
- Pray that social media companies will do more to combat the spread of disinformation and hatred on their platforms.
- Pray for continued protection, strength and encouragement for Open Doors partners as they serve the church in India.
Lord Jesus, help our persecuted brothers and sisters in India to stand strong in their faith and shine as stars in their local communities. Continue to manifest Your love and power through healings and miracles. Guard Your children from harm and equip them for the challenges they face. Provoke social media companies to do more to combat the use of their platforms to spread disinformation and hatred. Soften the hearts of influential local leaders and officials towards Christians, so that greater protection is given to them. Amen.