Targeted violence and hate crimes against the Christian community in India continued unabated in 2018. The Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) of the Evangelical Fellowship of India has recorded 325 incidents where Christians have been targeted using violence, intimidation or harassment. More than the numbers, what is disturbing is the sudden spurt of violence in a few districts of Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous province, and in Tamil Nadu in the extreme south of the subcontinent.
With general elections due in April-May 2019, attempts at religious polarization are at an all-time high. Hate speeches have acted as a catalyst in the dividing of people along religious, ethnic and even linguistic lines. The small Christian community, 2.3% of the 1.30 billion population, which seems to be targeted mainly on the excuse of the issue of conversion, is also a collateral victim of the hate crimes against the much larger Muslim community, which is about 15%.
An analysis of the data of the report by released by EFIRLC shows that over 40% of the documented incidents (132), took place in the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) making it the state where Christians were targeted the most. The state of Uttar Pradesh is the most populous state of India and is home to almost 17% of the total population of the nation. Christians make up 0.18% of the total population of the state. We especially appeal to the State Governments of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, to deal with stringently with the various right-wing organizations operating in these states whose primary agenda is to create an atmosphere of fear among the Christian community and other religious minorities.
Rev. Vijayesh Lal
National Director – EFIRLC , General Secretary – EFI