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Indian Hindu Nationalists Forbid Christians From Attending Church Without Special Permission

Although religious freedom is guaranteed by India’s Constitution, a growing movement of Hindu Nationalists continues to threaten to usurp this right at the local level, as problematic anti-conversion laws and intense social intimidation are contributing to a concerning rise in persecution against religious minorities such as Christians.

Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and various religious minorities have lived side-by-side in the nation for hundreds of years with varying degrees of civility, but nearly 80% of the population is Hindu and the growing nationalist movement has taken on particularly harsh tones as of late.

International Christian Concern reported that in the Jhabua district last Sunday, Christians were informed that they were forbidden from gathering to worship unless they had special permission from the local magistrate.

“I read the circular last Friday and decided not to have worship on Sunday,” a local pastor told the organization. “The last five months have been difficult. Our congregation has been reduced from 40 members to 15. Even these 15 are now scared.”

The pastor is concerned that this will further intimidate Christians who are already wary of rising persecution.

“I know as a pastor that I need to endure hardships and persecution for my faith,” he said. “But I am worried about those who are showing interest and coming newly to worship with us.”

Last month, a violent mob believed to be Hindu nationalists attacked a church in the Uttarakhand district.

At the same time, officials in the Karnataka state ordered an investigation into all Christian missionaries in the region as part of an effort to enact anti-conversion laws similar to those on the books in other states which criminalize evangelism efforts perceived to be forceful, but which are often leveraged against Christians unfairly.

In August, the leader of the Chhattisgarh state’s Hindu nationalist party held a rally in which he declared “let us drag people from the church.”

India is one of the world’s most powerful nations and a key ally to the United States. It is of the utmost concern to the worldwide Christian Church that our brothers and sisters are being treated in this manner by a country whose constitution professes to guarantee religious freedom.


HD Editor’s Note: Why Is This News Biblically Relevant?

International Christian Concern reported this week that in the Karnataka State in southern India 16 Pastors have been accused of “disturbing the peace” after they created a human chain to protect a fellow pastor from a violent mob:

On November 13, 16 Christian pastors in India were falsely accused of disturbing the peace. The false accusation was made against the pastors after they went to a local government office to represent a pastor who was attacked by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists.

On November 7, Pastor Chandrakanth and his congregation were attacked by a mob of 40 radical Hindu nationalists as they gathered for worship in India’s Karnataka state. The mob forced their way into the worship hall, but members of the congregation formed a human barrier between Pastor Chandrakanth and the radicals.

“The congregation stood before me as a human fence,” Pastor Chandrakanth told International Christian Concern (ICC). “Otherwise, they would have killed me. The radicals want to wipe out Christianity from this area and they think it is easy under the BJP government, presently ruling the state.”

After an hour, police arrived on the scene and took control of the situation. Police, however, filed a case against Pastor Chandrakanth for disturbing the peace. Pastor Chandrakanth was told to appear before the local magistrate on November 13.

On the day of the hearing, 16 pastors went to the local magistrate’s office for peace talks on behalf of the Christian community and Pastor Chandrakanth. When they arrived at the local administration office, however, these 16 pastors were also accused of disturbing the peace.

In recent weeks, attacks on Christians and their places of worship in Karnataka have dramatically increased. This increase in persecution comes as the BJP-led government of Karnataka publicly lobbies for the enactment of an anti-conversion law using false anti-Christian narratives. For many radicals operating in Karnataka, they act as if the anti-conversion law already exists.

In 2 Timothy 3, we are told that in the “last days” before Christ’s Return, perilous times would come in which “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

Hal Lindsey in his article, “Through Many Tribulations,” wrote:

Salvation is free. Jesus paid the whole price.  But in this world, bearing His name carries its own cost.  In Acts 14:22, Paul the great teacher of grace, gave this warning to the Christians of Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch.  “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

It reminds me of the third verse of John Newton’s “Amazing Grace.”  “Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come. ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home!”

That amazing grace abides… It abides with millions around the world facing various levels of persecution because of their stands for Christ.  If you are His, it also abides with you.

According to the Bible, as we approach the end of the age, persecution of believers will increase.  But don’t despair.  In John 16:33, Jesus said, “In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Ken Ham, regarding global Christian Persecution, explained that “all around the world, Christians are suffering for their faith, even paying the ultimate price of their lives.”

“We need to remember to be in prayer for them,” he insisted. “Also remember to pray that the freedoms we currently enjoy in our Western nations will not be taken away. And, regardless of our freedom or lack thereof, we need to share the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ with needy people. We always need to be about the business (proclaiming the truth of God’s Word and the gospel) of the King (Luke 19:13)”

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Although religious freedom is guaranteed by India’s Constitution, a growing movement of Hindu Nationalists continues to threaten to usurp this right at the local level, as problematic anti-conversion laws and intense social intimidation are contributing to a concerning rise in persecution against religious minorities such as Christians.

Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and various religious minorities have lived side-by-side in the nation for hundreds of years with varying degrees of civility, but nearly 80% of the population is Hindu and the growing nationalist movement has taken on particularly harsh tones as of late.

International Christian Concern reported that in the Jhabua district last Sunday, Christians were informed that they were forbidden from gathering to worship unless they had special permission from the local magistrate.

“I read the circular last Friday and decided not to have worship on Sunday,” a local pastor told the organization. “The last five months have been difficult. Our congregation has been reduced from 40 members to 15. Even these 15 are now scared.”

The pastor is concerned that this will further intimidate Christians who are already wary of rising persecution.

“I know as a pastor that I need to endure hardships and persecution for my faith,” he said. “But I am worried about those who are showing interest and coming newly to worship with us.”

Last month, a violent mob believed to be Hindu nationalists attacked a church in the Uttarakhand district.

At the same time, officials in the Karnataka state ordered an investigation into all Christian missionaries in the region as part of an effort to enact anti-conversion laws similar to those on the books in other states which criminalize evangelism efforts perceived to be forceful, but which are often leveraged against Christians unfairly.

In August, the leader of the Chhattisgarh state’s Hindu nationalist party held a rally in which he declared “let us drag people from the church.”

India is one of the world’s most powerful nations and a key ally to the United States. It is of the utmost concern to the worldwide Christian Church that our brothers and sisters are being treated in this manner by a country whose constitution professes to guarantee religious freedom.


HD Editor’s Note: Why Is This News Biblically Relevant?

International Christian Concern reported this week that in the Karnataka State in southern India 16 Pastors have been accused of “disturbing the peace” after they created a human chain to protect a fellow pastor from a violent mob:

On November 13, 16 Christian pastors in India were falsely accused of disturbing the peace. The false accusation was made against the pastors after they went to a local government office to represent a pastor who was attacked by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists.

On November 7, Pastor Chandrakanth and his congregation were attacked by a mob of 40 radical Hindu nationalists as they gathered for worship in India’s Karnataka state. The mob forced their way into the worship hall, but m