Top 10 Christian Persecuting States of 2014: Report

Bei Chatlai Beita – Christian Today.  Chhattisgarh has emerged as the "top rogue state" of India, where Christians are most persecuted in 2014, followed by Maharashtra – the "new Hindutva capital of India," Madhya Pradesh was third; the persecution was so intense that there was "one incident of persecution a day throughout 2014," the report said.

The yearly report titled, "Indian Christian Persecution – the CSF 2014 Report" published by Mumbai-based the Catholic Social Forum (CSF) duly signed by its chairman Justice Michael Saldanha, Ex-Justice of Bombay and Karnataka High Courts and Joseph Dias, founder of the CSF has mentioned the following as the top 10 persecutors of Christians in the year 2014.

1. Chhattisgarh

2. Maharashtra

3. Madhya Pradesh

4. Uttar Pradesh

5. Karnataka

6. Odisha

7. Kerala

8. Andhra Pradesh

9. Tamil Nadu

10. Delhi.

These states are followed by Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Gujarat, Assam, and others.

The report highlighted that five persons were brutally killed and the persecution has affected over 7,000 people including 1,600 women and 500 children, which also targeted over 300 clergy and community leaders across the country.

Chhattisgarh which tops the most persecuted state in the country, when one man refused to recant his faith, his 11-year-old boy was confined to his non-believer uncle's house, who died allegedly of malnutrition. In Rajnandgoan, Raipur, police register an FIR against two pastors after a mob of Hindu extremists attacked into a prayer meeting. Gram Sabha bans entry of non-Hindu religious missionaries when Christians refuse donations for an annual Hindu festival. Churches were desecrated and vandalized in Bastar, Bhilai, Durg, Jagdalpur and Mahasamund; there was arrests of church workers in Jashpur as well.

In Maharashtra, the second spot, the report wonders if "Maharashtra has become the Hindutva Capital of India?" The report highlighted that attacks and intimidation on Christians have increased and also the government has strike off Christians from reservation list while Muslims and Maratha are very much in it.

The report stated that the CSF had received complaints throughout the year and had taken up the cases with the authorities in various districts, notably – Mumbai, Rural Thane, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Yavatmal, Pimpri, Pune, etc.

The report also mentioned that in Mumbai, the municipal corporation has regularly targeted Christian institutions, including churches and even a Mother Teresa's hospice, which has been vehemently opposed by the CSF, besides taking up other issues like the proposed staging of a play titled, 'The Missionary Position,' which has highly objectionable reference to the Vatican, Christians, priests and nuns. A cross was vandalized in Vile Parle of suburban Mumbai and instances of threats to schools, especially during admission time or to carol singers have been noted.

It also mentioned that nine girls from Odisha's riot-hit Khandamal district, who were forced into bonded labor in a Mumbai fish processing firm, were rescued with the help of Catholic nuns and voluntary agencies in Mumbai. In another instance, a community center run by nuns was targeted with the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus being broken. Many reports from the rural Nashik district of Christians being targeted, 25 Christians were beaten up, damaging houses, a shop and looting all the goods in the shop; and even the police who tried to intervene being attacked, the report stated.

The state government left out Christians from the reservations list, mentioning Muslims and

Marathas, leading Christians from Aurangabad to file a public interest litigation demanding five percent reservation on the basis of recommendations made by the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission constituted by National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

In the third spot Madhya Pradesh, attacking evangelists and preachers, and also disrupting prayer fellowship have become very common, the report stated.

Highlighting few incidents, the report mentioned how Hindu fundamentalists lodged a complaint when two Evangelists, Bro. Sonjit and Bro. Simson from Operation Mobilization (OM), were showing a Jesus movie in a believer's house. Pastors have been regularly attacked.

It also stated that Hindu radical groups disrupted an inter-faith meeting and worship services to celebrate Christmas and New Year. Many cases filed against pastors across districts for conversion and instance of Pentecostals being assaulted.

In fourth spot, Uttar Pradesh, reports received of Christians being "reconverted" to Hinduism in large numbers with monies and government benefits being promised to them.

Five Hindu extremists verbally abused, Hannah Patel, the teenage daughter of Pastor RA Patel. They followed her and stormed into the Christian home and started slapping Hannah's mother when she came to her daughter's defense, the report stated.

In the fifth place Karnataka, Hindu extremists threatened pastors and filed police cases in various districts. Pastors' vehicles and house churches were also targeted, besides Bibles being burnt and prayer meetings were disrupted.

Hindu organisations including the Hindu Jana Jagruthi Samithi and Sri Rama Sene opposed Christian evangelist Benny Hinn from coming to India, leading him to cancel his scheduled visit.

In the sixth place Odisha, Hindutva extremists have become more violent, resorting to even murder to spread fear among the believers. The construction of chapels and prayer halls have

been objected to, besides holding of worship services stopped.

The report said that the authorities in Bhubaneswar, the capital of the Indian state of Orissa, demolished a church and 30 houses of the Christian community that lives in the slums.

Seventh place Kerala was no better in 2014, Hindutva activists objected to a Christian procession, leading to 3 chapels being vandalised and a riot breaking out, where many were injured.

In the eight place Andhra Pradesh, Rev Christopher Talla was assaulted in the village of Munugode, and Rev Gajjala Neeladri Pal suffered the same fate in Ipparthi. Apart from that a group of vandals desecrated all the statues at the 14 Stations of the Cross in a Cathloic ashram. Cristu Jyothi Ashram in Warangal.

In the ninth place Tamil Nadu, more than 100 anti Christian goons attacked the priest Fr. KA Sathish and evangelist of the Marthoma Church and destroyed over 20 vehicles outside the church. The attackers demanded Christians leave Udumalpet or face consequences.

A prayer service was barged into and even children were not spared, with the hand of a 12 year-old believer's child being broken. About 50 Dalits complained about police harassment for participating in the annual church festival.

In the tenth place is the new entrant Delhi, the capital of India. One of East Delhi's big churches, St Sebastian's Church destroyed by early morning mysterious fire. Unidentified people pelted stones on the Our lady of Fatima Church while the evening mass was being held.

The top 10 does not negate the gruesome persecutions and incidents happening elsewhere.

In West Bengal, a Christian couple was hacked to death and their 12-year-old daughter's eye gouged out by masked assailants in Kalimpong sub division of West Bengal's Darjeeling district. In another instance, a Pastor from East Medinipur was beaten by Hindu extremists for not reconverting to Hinduism and repeating its religious chants. He was asked to recant his faith, not convert any one and provide details of those who supported him.

In Punjab, CNI church authorities complained that Shiv Sena workers attacked a security guard and forcibly entered the area near Kalvari church. They were armed and misbehaved with the priest and community leaders.

In Assam, Pastor was threatened by local Hindutva leaders to vacate the building that

the congregation used for Church services.

In Bihar, Christian family persecuted for not allowing to cremate the body as per Hindu rites of a elder member of the family. In another instance, Dalit Christians sought police protection and alleged that several outfits were forcing them to to reconvert to Hinduism.

In Goa, thieves broke into the Holy Cross Shrine at Bambolim and took away 12 gold Chains from the statue of Blessed Mother Mary, two rings and 60,000 rupees.

According to the report, most persecution goes unreported for various reasons.

"Often the police refuse to record it as such, as it would show them in bad light," it stated.

"For the media, it's not 'news' and there are instances of the local media being biased or taking sides,"the report alleged.

"Often, persecution goes unrecorded because the victims are too afraid to complain or a compromise is forced upon them by politicians," it stated.

"Sometimes," the report said, "Persecution is also blamed on causes, other than religious – mental illness, drunkenness, economic, enmity, etc" and if all the incidents are reported, the report said it will be much more.

Persecution watchdog Open Doors' 2015 World Watch List of countries where Christians face most persecutions has moved up India at 21st place, two place above Egypt (23) and Myanmar (25), and has clubbed in the category where Christians face "severe persecution".

An Appeal to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi:

In order to stop this cruelty of persecutions, in favour of millions of Indian Christians from within the country and abroad the CSF has appealed to the Prime Minister to "know the plight of those from the community persecuted by fundamentalists and act to stop it."

"Indian Christians love the Prime Minister and many voted for the BJP, putting great faith in not the party, but the individual – Narendra Modi – from whom we have great expectations. We, therefore look up to him and are dismayed that his vision of a strong and developed India, which we all are dedicated to, will be reduced to nought in such a vitiated environment," the statement stated.

"Hence, this request to the Narendra Modi Government for inclusiveness of minorities, especially Christians, who desperately need it. Indian Christians have made huge contributions and are committed to do so in the future too," it stated.

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