Persecution of Christians in the curfew of Covid

Jan 14, 2021 by

A report on 2020 from the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India:

[…]  The EFI Religious Liberty Commission and other Christian agencies including a national Helpline co-founded by the EFI five years ago, documented 327 cases, in which at least five people lost their lives, at least six Churches were burnt or demolished, and 26 incidents of social boycott were recorded. This is by no means an exhaustive list of incidents, many of which remain mostly unreported and unrecorded even in normal years because of the fear of victims of further atrocities if they stand up to their tormentors, and the victims in the rural settings, in particular, are hesitant or outright refuse to register cases of religious persecution because of fear.

The religious freedom situation has to be seen in the context of an unbridled push for a majoritarian political framework in the country with laws tweaked against minorities in various ways. Social scientists, political scholars and activists have written “Federalism has ceased to exist and the last vestige of trust has been exterminated. The space for free speech has been drastically curtailed: dissent has been rechristened as antinationalism and sedition, and dozens of academics, social workers, students, activists and journalists have been incarcerated for being critical of the government. Hate speech laws are being applied selectively, sending a clear signal that remarks against a particular community will attract no punishment.” Some popular TV channels amplifying this targeted hate were, in fact, fined 20,000 pounds by the UK watchdog late in 2020.

The most alarming development has been the expansion and scope of the notorious Freedom of Religion Acts, which are popularly known as the anti-conversion laws, earlier enforced in 7 states, to many more states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Once targeting only Christians, they are now armed also against Muslims in the guise of curbing ‘Love Jihad’. This is an Islamophobic term coined some years ago to demonise marriages between Muslim men and non-Muslim women, particularly those belonging to the Hindu upper castes. The laws ostensibly punish forced or fraudulent religious conversions. But in practice, they are used to criminalise all conversions, especially in non-urban settings.

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