INDIA – Reporting Persecution to Police a Vanishing Option for Christians in India

July 30, 2019 | Morning Star News


Pastor Shelton Viswanathan was attacked in Sheohar District, Bihar state, India. (Morning Star News)
Pastor Shelton Viswanathan was attacked in Sheohar District, Bihar state, India. (Morning Star News)

HYDERABAD, India (Morning Star News) – Persecution of Christians in Bihar state, India, has so intensified in the past two years that Pastor Shelton Viswanathan didn’t dare call police after Hindu extremists broke bones in his hand and foot.

“If I force the police to register cases against the assailants, the [Hindu extremist] Bajrang Dal’s top leaders will not spare me,” Pastor Viswanathan told Morning Star News. “The police officials asked me to be wary as the Hindu militant activists roam freely with guns, and through their videos, I can be easily identified by other RSS [Hindu extremist umbrella group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh]-affiliated groups also.”

Violence against Christians in Bihar state, in India’s northeast bordering Nepal and Bangladesh, has increased in the past two years, sources said. Hopes for forming a Christian response center with help from legal aid and relief organizations has yet to be realized, Devesh Lal of the Bihar Pastors Fellowship told Morning Star News.

“The Hindutva [Hindu nationalist] extremists are walking into churches and are disrupting prayer services – on a weekly basis, we hear of threats and attacks on home churches and pastors,” Lal said. “Christian persecution is widely spread across Bihar, and it appears to be a much planned, systematic opposition created to target activities.”

Like Pastor Viswanathan, many of those attacked choose not to call police, as officers are often complicit in Hindu extremist aggression, he said.

“We also see police supporting the perpetrators instead of taking action against them, and the victims do not come forward fearing this bias,” Lal said.

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