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21 January 2021

Pregnant woman loses child following attack by Hindu militants

One of the notable trends to emerge from the World Watch List is rising Hindu nationalism in India (number 10). Two recent attacks over the new year period have underlined how this nationalism is used to persecute Christians. In one, a pregnant woman lost her child after she was kicked. Please continue to keep India’s Christians in your prayers. 


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Hindu nationalism is on the rise on India - making Christians increasingly vulnerable

A pregnant woman lost her baby and others received death threats in two attacks on Christian communities in India over the new year period.

Baby still-born following attack by Hindu militants

On 31 December, eight Christians from a church in Dewla, a village in the state of Madhya Pradesh, were gathered in a home to plan for a new year’s prayer meeting when group of some 35 Hindu nationalist militants stormed the house and attacked them.

World Watch List 2021
India is number 10 on the latest list. Read and explore the full Top 50 list.
Find out more

One of the attackers kicked Leela, who was eight months pregnant, causing her to go into premature labour. No one could rush her to the hospital because the extremists continued to attack the group, although one of the believers did manage to call the police. Tragically, just after the police arrived, Leela gave birth to a still-born baby.

The group of believers – which included the church’s pastor – were also verbally abused and their mobile phones stolen. 

The attack is currently not being investigated. This is despite police visiting the scene in response to the emergency call and Christians attempting to register it as an incident. A group of 50-60 Christians, including pastors, have spent some time gathered outside a local police station, demanding that a case is filed against the attackers.

Prayer meeting attacked and Christians accused of ‘forced conversion’

Four days later, on 3 January, a group belonging to Bajrang Dal attacked Christians attending a prayer meeting in Uttar Pradesh state to mark the new year. Five people, including the pastor, were handed to police and a complaint registered against them for ‘forced conversion’.

"They said if we don't say it, they would kill us, and they started hitting us" Pastor in India

Bajrant Dal is the militant youth wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a Hindu nationalist group. The attackers forced Christians to mock Jesus and chant a Hindu slogan. At least one woman and a teenage girl were injured.

“They said if we don't say it, they would kill us, and they started hitting us,” the pastor told The Hindu. “And then they called the police.” The police confiscated four Bibles, two other religious books, a diary and a keyboard from the premises which hosted the prayer meeting. 

Rising tide of Hindu nationalism 

One of the notable trends to emerge from the recent World Watch List launch is the rising tide of Hindu nationalism in India which claims that ‘to be Indian is to be Hindu’. This makes Christians increasingly vulnerable, as has sadly been reinforced with these two recent attacks. 

“The Indian Constitution enshrines freedom to practise, profess and propagate one's faith, and this arrest is misuse and abuse of the law,” Bishop Gerald J. Mathias of Lucknow told Catholic news site CRUX in response to the attack in Uttar Pradesh. “Any convention can be disrupted by vigilante groups. Even people attending a prayer meeting can be falsely accused of conversion activities taking place. Democratic freedom guaranteed in the constitution is not followed in our country.”

Find out more about what it’s like to be a Christian in India and read an overview of the trends to emerge from the newly launched World Watch List. 


Please pray
  • For God to minister healing to Leela following her traumatic loss and experience, and for the family to feel lifted by the prayers and support of Christians locally and globally
  • That the authorities involved in these two cases will see the injustice and take steps to punish it
  • For Christians across India to remain strong in the Lord and each other despite the rising tide of Hindu nationalism.
Please give
 
  • Every £21 could give a Bible to three believers from a country where Christians face extreme persecution
  • Every £35 could give biblical training to a believer from a country in the World Watch List Top 10

 

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