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Report concludes Christians in India are living in 'constant fear'

by Cara Bentley

A report by researchers in India from the London School of Economics has found that Christians in India are living in constant fear, from threat of violence, harassment, rape and discrimination. 

A team of researchers at the LSE was commissioned to look into the persecution of religious minorities in India by religious freedom charity Open Doors. They collected data in areas where there had been reported incidents before. 

The report concluded that Christians and Muslims in India are at the end of a propaganda campaign by some radical Hindu nationals, who are trying to convince others that they are foreigners and a threat to the India identity. 

Practically, this results in religious minorities not getting legal help when there are land disputes, the misuse of anti-conversion laws to ban people attending prayer events and pressure on Christians and Muslims to convert if they want secure jobs and not to be shunned by the community. 

To keep favour with powerful Hindu national organisations, attacks and accounts of persecution are also frequently ignored by police, local government and the media. 

A Christian woman stands in the ruins of her house destroyed in rioting, Photo Credit: Open Doors

Christians and Muslims have also been subject to misinformation campaigns during Covid, claiming that they are trying to spread it to Hindus through their acts of worship. 

Open Doors say that social media has a lot to answer for, with online platforms being the place where misinformation is often propagated. Mobs were also reported to have filmed attacks and posted them on social media. 

A series of disturbing case studies are laid out in the report, including one woman who gave birth to a still-born baby after a Hindutva group kicked her in the stomach. 

The report makes urgent recommendations, including an international fact-finding commission to record the violence and human rights violations. 

Dr David Landrum, head of advocacy for Open Doors UK & Ireland says: "The international community can no longer ignore what is happening in India. They cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities. We are calling for a thorough investigation of this brutal and systematic persecution of religious minorities."

Reconstruction of a Christian funeral, photo credit: Open Doors

Campaigners are also urging social media companies to immediately suspend accounts spreading false information about religious minorities. 

"What is really shocking is how un-seriously this is being taken by [social media] platforms and companies," added the unnamed co-author of the report. 

"They should deal with it as seriously as if Christians were being persecuted like this in the U.S. or in the UK. I think they would have a different reaction to it then."

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