|Washington, D.C.—India is home to an estimated 30 million Christians according to a recent report from the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA), making it the third largest religion in this important country in South Asia with a population of 1.4 billion as of 2021. In 2022, FIACONA reports 1198 verified attacks against Christians, but notes thousands of other acts of violence have gone unreported due to the current Hindu Nationalist (Hindutva) political environment.
India is a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic with a Parliamentary form of government which is federal in structure with unitary features. There is a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minster as its head who advises the President, who is the constitutional head of the country.
Since 2014, under the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its leader, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, violence against Christians and other non-majority religions has been steadily increasing.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is the political arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), an extremist Hindu nationalist, paramilitary, volunteer organization in India. President Droupadi Murmu is also a member of the BJP.
The Indian constitution provides for freedom of conscience and the right of all individuals to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion; mandates a secular state; requires the state to treat all religions impartially; and prohibits discrimination based on religion.
In the West, India is known as the land of yoga. It is associated with Mahatma Gandhi and nonviolence. But, in reality, India is changing rapidly.
The recent increase in violence against Indian Christians in India is attributed to the rise of Hindu nationalism, popularly known as “Hindutva.” This ideology follows beliefs akin to Nationalsozialismus (Nazism). Like the SS, the parent organization of Hindutva ideology is known as the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh). In fact, the RSS is modeled after the SS.
This Hindu nationalist movement promotes a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu Nation) to the exclusion of non-Hindus. Like the Nazis, the Hindutva groups use propaganda, false accusations, and terror tactics to promote religious hatred among the Hindus. The RSS uses every occasion and every development in the country to define and identify non-Hindus as the “other”.
In 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by former members of the RSS for refusing to agree with the RSS ideology. Shockingly, the RSS celebrates Gandhi’s assassin as a hero of the India they envision.
BJP propaganda and policies significantly contribute to the oppression and persecution of Christians and other faith groups. BJP-based governments and agencies routinely do not prosecute acts of violence against Christians and instead harass and prosecute minority faith-based institutions and individuals based on false and erroneous reports of alleged violations.
Meanwhile, the United States Department of State continues to ignore credible reports of significant religious-based human rights abuse in India in its ongoing refusal to designate India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) as they are legally required to do under the provisions of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) due to severe violations of religious freedom.
Prime Minister Modi is expected to visit President Joe Biden at the U.S. White House this spring.
Join Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC) for the next installment of our monthly webinar series at 4:30-5:45 pm ET, Thursday, 16 February, as we host a panel of experts to discuss how “The U.S. Turns a Blind Eye to the Plight of Christians in India.”
- Dede Laugesen: Executive Director, Save The Persecuted Christians
- Frank Gaffney: President and CEO, Save the Persecuted Christians; Executive Chairman, Center for Security Policy; Vice-Chair, Committee on the Present Danger: China
- John Prabhudoss, Chairman, Federation of Indian American Organizations of North America
- Pastor Bryan Nerren, International House of Prayer in Shelbyville, TN; Detained in India for 7-months in 2019-2020
- Pastor Greg Young, oversees 490 house churches, 165 Churches, 3 Sewing Schools for Widows, a Bible School, and an orphanage in Punjab India; Host of the nationally syndicated radio show, Chosen Generation
- Dede Laugesen, Executive Director, Save the Persecuted Christians