01/17/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – Yesterday, January 16, Open Doors USA released its annual World Watch List of the top 50 countries where Christians face persecution. For the first time, India was ranked in the top ten of the World Watch List after years of increasing anti-Christian violence and religious intolerance.
Much of the increased religious intolerance has been blamed on the rule of the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Founded on a Hindu nationalist platform, the rise of the BJP in 2014 began an escalating cycle of persecution for many religious minorities in India, including Christians.
Using religiously divisive rhetoric for political gain, BJP politicians often inflame the passions of Hindu radicals. These radicals then attack religious minorities or their places of worship under the assumption that they have the ‘tacit approval’ of those in power. When the radicals receive little to no consequences for their anti-minority activities, the cycle of increasing violence continues to spin.
In 2014, the year the BJP took power, the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) documented 144 cases of anti-Christian violence. In 2017, after three years of BJP rule, that number had more than doubled to 351 cases.
Commenting on the ranking of India, Open Doors said, “For the first time since the start of the World Watch List, India has entered the top 10. Hindu nationalists in India continue to attack Christians with what seems like no consequences.”