09/12/2020 India (International Christian Concern) – According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), radical Hindu nationalists are making and circulating videos of their attacks on Christians in an effort to incite hatred and fear. This report comes as Persecution Relief, an Indian Christian NGO, reports that it has documented some 293 cases of Christian persecution in India in just the first half of 2020.
In an interview with UCAN, Shibu Thomas of Persecution Relief explains that many incidents of Christian persecution are being recorded by radical Hindu nationalists. These videos are then widely circulated on social media, with Facebook alone having a network of 33 million users in India.
According to Thomas, the videos of attacks on Christians are circulated to incite hatred and defame the Christian minority of India. In these videos, the Christian victims are falsely accused of committing a crime before being attacked. Often, the crime these victims are accused of is forced religious conversions.
Accusations of forced conversions are especially used against Christians in states where anti-conversion laws are currently enforced.
In states where anti-conversion laws are currently enacted, including Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Uttrakhand, they are widely abused. Radical nationalists falsely accused Christian leaders and evangelists of forcefully converting individuals to Christianity to justify harassment and assault. Local police often overlook this harassment due to the false accusation of forced conversions.
To date, many Christians have been arrested under forced conversion accusations, but no individual has been convicted of forced conversions in India. This is in spite of the fact that some of the state-level anti-conversion laws have been on the books since 1967.