United Christian Forum: Average two Christians attacked in India every day 287 incidents reported from Uttar Pradesh alone

15, Dec 2023 | CJP Team

As per a recent statement released by the United Christian Forum, an average of two Christians is attacked every day in India. The said statement, released on December 14, also provided that a total of 687 incidents of violence against Christians had been reported in 334 days of 2023. Out of these 687 incidents, 531 took place in the North Indian states of Uttar Pradesh (287) Chhattisgarh (148), Jharkhand (49) and Haryana (47).

The statement highlights that even after the Indian Constitution guaranteeing the fundamental right of a citizen to practice, propagate and profess their religion, India still ranks as the eleventh-worst country for the persecution of Christians in the Open Doors World Watch annual ranking.

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“This is in spite of Article 25 of the Indian Constitution which guarantees the right to choose any religion of one’s choice,” the statement notes.

The UCF statement further points to the ironical existence of “Freedom of Religion Acts” in 11 out of 28 states which mandates a person to seek permission from the government to follow a religion of his/her choice by filing written information to a revenue officer. Holding it a contravention to the UN convention, the statement provides “In our country, today, we have so called “Freedom of Religion Acts” which is popularly known as “anti-conversion laws” in 11 out of the 28 states wherein a person living in India is expected to seek permission from the government to follow a religion of his/her choice by filing written information to a revenue officer in contravention to UN convention.”

Data for the year 2023:

In the year 2023, the statement provided that UCF received reports of 687 incidents of violence against Christians in 23 states of India. As highlighted above, 531 incidents have taken place in 4 states of North India. 35 Incidents of violence against Christians took place in the state of Madhya Pradesh, 21 in Karnataka, 18 in Punjab, 14 in Bihar, 8 each in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Jammu & Kashmir, 7 each in Rajasthan and Orissa, 6 each in Delhi and Maharashtra, 4 each in Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh, 2 in Assam, 1 each in Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Chandigarh and Daman & Diu. It is crucial to note that the 4 north Indian states also reported the highest number of incidents, with the state of Uttar Pradesh topping the list.

As per the statement, the total number of incidents of violence against Christians had been increasing gradually since the year 2014. As reported, a total of 147 incidents of violence against Christians were reported in the years 2014, 177 in 2015, 208 in 2016, 240 in 2017, 292 in 2018, 328 in 2019, 279 in 2020, 505 in 2021, 599 in 2022 and 687 in Nov 2023. Thus, a constant increase in violent incidents against Christians can be observed over the past nine years. The highest jump can be observed in the year 2021, with incidents of violence being 505 in comparison to the previous year where 279 incidents were reported. In the current year, an increase of 88 incidents can be noted in comparison to the last year.

The report also mentioned the attacks that were faced by the Christians of Manipur. It stated “There are other states too which saw well-orchestrated attacks on Christians. Last year, 2022, it was Chhattisgarh due to which over 1000 Adivasi Christians were displaced from their own homes and villages. This year, 2023, Manipur saw the worst ever violence wherein 175 died and over 1000 individuals severely injured. Over 5000 cases of arson and 254 churches burnt and vandalised.”

Details of the incidents:

As per the statement, in almost all incidents reported across India, vigilante mobs comprising religious extremists were either found barging into a prayer gathering or rounding up individuals that they believe are involved in forcible religious conversions. With impunity, such mobs criminally threaten and/or physically assault people in prayer, before handing them over to the police on allegations of forcible conversions. The report also stated that such incidents were often followed by communal sloganeering outside police stations, where the police were witnessed standing as mute spectators.

Little to no justice:

The UCF statement emphasised on the lack of action undertaken by nation and state government against the perpetrators on this violence, even in the face of international condemnation. “Despite widespread international condemnation of the impunity that attackers face, national and state governments have done little to ensure justice. A report titled Criminalising Practice of Faith published by PUCL documented that police colluded with Hindutva groups and turned a blind eye to offences committed against Christians,” the Christian body said in its statement.

The complete statement is as follows:




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