The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) has released a ‘half-yearly report’
The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) has released a ‘half-yearly report’ with incidents of persecution across India since beginning of 2011.
EFI has recorded 64 instances of violence coupled with several instances of false accusations against the Christian community.
The southern state of Karnataka recorded the most number of attacks with 20 instances of violence and hostility.
The central Indian state of Chhattisgarh saw six instances of violence and the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh recorded five each.
EFI, a national alliance of evangelical Christians in India, said it was “deeply concerned” at the continuing hostility against Christians in the country.
“With two – three incidents of violence against the community each week in 2011, Christians continue to face the worst ever persecution,” said Rev. Dr Richard Howell, General Secretary, EFI.
In an outrageous attack against Christians in Jharkhand, the local villagers in the Palamu and Garwah district left several Christians, including one woman severely injured. One woman was abducted for a month by the attackers before she was finally released by the order of the local court.
The police failed to arrest even a single person in connection with the incidents, inspite of repeated appeals from both local and national human rights agencies and the appeals from the victims themselves.
Far from being an isolated incident, EFI said, this is the norm, with several Christians being coerced by government agencies into accepting a compromise with the attackers and even submitting to demands such as leaving the village and conducting worship services at their homes.
In most of the instances, after the preliminary disruption of church or worship service, Christians including women were abused and physically assaulted. Later the Christians were arrested on the charges of “forcible conversions”.
The blatant disregard for the law by alleged Hindutva proponents, coupled with the inaction and often bias of the police in favour of the attackers, has left the community vulnerable and helpless in the onslaught of violence, EFI expressed.
The evangelical body has recommended the State Governments, especially the government of Karnataka, to take immediate steps to ensure protection of the Christian minority.
EFI has also recommended the Central Government to enact the Prevention of Communal Violence Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011, after due consideration to the concerns raised by civil society.