Three Christians suffered serious injuries when a mob of 25 extremists attacked a prayer meeting in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh on 7 February.
The mob broke into the pastor’s home in Chapar village, Sultanpur district, and began insulting worshippers before slapping them and hitting them with sticks. Bibles were also set on fire.
“They did not even spare women,” said Sajan K George, the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), who spoke out condemning the violence. He added, “Intolerance towards Christians in Uttar Pradesh is spiralling upward and religious freedom is pulverised by fanatical elements.”
The Christian leader said, “[the attack] is a shame on secular India” and added that the police, “did not allow Christians to file a complaint against the attackers nor let the injured get medical certificates for their injuries”. Highlighting that the situation is likely to deteriorate in the run-up to the general elections expected in May he added, “Fanatics are whipping up hostility against Christians for political gain.”
Persecution of Christians and other minorities has been on the rise in India since Narendra Modi, whose home constituency is in Uttar Pradesh, became prime minister in 2014. There was a sharp escalation of persecution incidents against Christians in 2017, when around 736 were recorded by the Evangelical Fellowship of India (of which 351 were violent), compared to 348 persecution incidents recorded in 2016.