Wednesday, June 19, 2024

400 anti-Christian violence incidents in India in 190 days of 2023, shows United Christian Forum data

The United Christian Forum (UCF) has raised alarming concerns as it revealed that India has witnessed a staggering 400 incidents of violence against Christians across 23 states in the first half of 2023, with Uttar Pradesh leading the chart with 155 incidents. This figure represents a significant increase compared to the same period last year, which saw 274 incidents reported.

Of particular concern is the ongoing violence in Manipur, which has persisted for over two months, resulting in the loss of numerous churches and precious lives, according to the Christian body.

In Uttar Pradesh, six districts have reported incidents of violence against Christians, with Jaunpur topping the list at 13 incidents, followed by 11 incidents each in Rae Bareilly and Sitapur. Kanpur reported 10 incidents, while Azamgarh and Kushinagar districts witnessed nine incidents each. However, the highest number of incidents occurred in Bastar, Chhattisgarh, with 31 recorded cases, as stated in the press release.

June 2023 stands out as the month with the highest number of incidents against Christians, with 88 reported cases, averaging almost three incidents per day. This was followed by 66 incidents in March, 63 in February, 62 in January, 50 in May, and 47 in April. Comparatively, during the same period in 2022, January had the highest number of incidents, totaling 121, averaging almost four incidents per day. May 2022 had 40 incidents, while February, April, March, and June recorded 31, 29, 28, and 25 incidents, respectively.

The UCF emphasizes that these 400 incidents of violence against Christians have occurred nationwide, regardless of which political party is in power. Uttar Pradesh remains at the forefront, reporting 155 incidents, followed by Chhattisgarh with 84 incidents, Jharkhand with 35 incidents, Haryana with 32 incidents, Madhya Pradesh with 21 incidents, Punjab with 12 incidents, Karnataka with 10 incidents, Bihar with 9 incidents, Jammu & Kashmir with 8 incidents, and Gujarat with 7 incidents. Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chandigarh, and Goa have also reported varying numbers of incidents.

Disturbingly, the UCF reports a consistent rise in incidents of violence against Christians since 2014. The recorded numbers are as follows: 147 incidents in 2014, 177 in 2015, 208 in 2016, 240 in 2017, 292 in 2018, 328 in 2019, 279 in 2020, 505 in 2021, 599 in 2022, and now 400 incidents in the first 190 days of 2023.

The UCF draws attention to a concerning trend whereby Christians, despite being victims of these atrocities, face a higher number of First Information Reports (FIRs) compared to the accused. The organization highlights that the police often fail to adequately investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of mob violence. False allegations of conversions under the Freedom of Religion Act have led to 63 FIRs being lodged against Christians, it said. Disturbingly, 35 pastors remain in jail, as their repeated bail requests have been denied. Furthermore, bureaucratic delays in processing their release have left those who do secure bail still incarcerated. Despite numerous appeals made by Christian community leaders to the President, Prime Minister, and Home Minister, no response has been received thus far, the UCF said.

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