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Attack against Christians rising under Hindutva rule, says report

By Newsd
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The attack against Christians in India has risen over the past year, making it a place where the practice of the religion is under high-risk, according to a report by Open Doors.

India has risen to No 15 on the 2017 World Watch List, up from 31 in 2012.

Under the Hindutva right-wing rule, India experienced a series of attacks on Christian minority in 2016. Christian missionaries were usually targeted by the Hindu nationalists for propagating their faith. Just over 2% of the country’s population is Christian in the Hindu- majority nation, The Guardian reported.

“There was also an increase in Christian persecution across the region “driven by extreme religious nationalism, which is often tacitly condoned – and sometimes actively encouraged – by local and national governments”, Guardian quoted Lisa Pearce, of Open Doors UK, as saying.

Open Doors estimated that a church was burnt down or a cleric beaten on average 10 times a week in India. The data showed a threefold increase compared to the previous year.

“Religious nationalists attempt to forcibly convert people to the dominant faith of their nation, often turning to violence when community discrimination and non-violent oppression do not succeed in imposing their religious beliefs on minority Christians,” Pearce told Guardian.

“These Christians are often from the lower castes, such as the Dalits in India who face huge socioeconomic problems. They are an easy target for extreme nationalists,” she added.

The Evangelical Fellowship of India’s (EFI) Religious Liberty Commission has tallied 134 attacks on Christians or their churches in the first half of 2016. Nearly one-fifth of the reported incidents of anti-Christian violence occurred in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Anti conversion law named Freedom of Religion Acts are in force in five states- Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

The law is largely misused by Hindutva groups to harass Christians, especially from the lower class, with arrests and incarcerations.

North Korea topped the watchdog list for the 16th year in a row.  The Christian population of Aleppo has fallen from 400,000 before the Syrian civil war to fewer than 60,000 by the end of 2016.

Iraq and Syria slipped down the table, because majority of Christians fled from the region due to the attack from ISIS, and Middle East were overtaken by Somalia, Pakistan and Sudan.

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