India: Hindu Nationalists Escalate Persecution

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Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 430 | Wed 23 May 2007

India's Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) forces want their Barantya
Janata Party (BJP) to win power at state and federal levels with
absolute majorities so they can rule outright and not have their
Hindutva program hamstrung by coalition partners. So they are
working to Hinduise the traditionally animist tribal masses as
religious conversion is a path to political conversion. Also,
uniting Hindus to dragnet the Hindu vote is vastly important to
Hindutva as India, which is almost 80 percent Hindu, has numerous
political parties.

In going after the Hindu vote the Hindutva forces propagandise that
Indian harmony, culture, identity, security, sovereignty and
territorial integrity are seriously under threat from indigenous
Christian missionaries, whom they describe variously as terrorists,
separatists and CIA operatives. According to the Hindutva
propaganda, the only way to save India is to unite behind Hindutva.
'Hindu Jago, Christi Bhagao!' - 'Arise Hindus, throw out the
Christians!' - is their slogan. (See link 1 below).

Hindu nationalists are now committing their violent attacks in
front of television cameras. On 19 April, Pastor Walter Masih of
Jaipur, Rajasthan, was beaten by some 20 militant youths. On 7 May
in Kolhapur district, Maharashtra, two priests, Ramesh Gopargode
and Ajit Belavi, were beaten in the street by a mob, dragged into a
police station, charged with 'conversion activity' and locked up.
Then the TV images turn the thugs who perpetrate these violent
criminal acts into Hindutva cult heroes! This is a seriously
concerning development. It encourages and emboldens Hindutva
hoodlums and terrorises Christians. (See link 2 below.)

(India is second only to the USA for the number of missionaries its
Church sends out - over 40,000. Most Indian missionaries are
engaged in local and cross-cultural mission inside India because
there are only 25 million Christians in its population of over a
billion (2.4 percent). There are more unreached people groups in
India than elsewhere in the world. The need is enormous.)

In February, Punjab and Uttarakhand which were held by Congress
fell to the BJP in state elections. In Uttarakhand the BJP is only
one seat short of a clear majority. In both states there are now
calls for 'anti-conversion' legislation. Subsequently the BJP
contested the Uttar Pradesh state election in May with supreme
confidence, distributing a highly controversial, primarily anti-
Muslim sectarian CD, confident they would win on communalism.
However they were profoundly rejected and the Bahujan Samaj Party
(BSP) reaped the benefit, winning with a clear majority on a 'Dalit-
centred' platform of development with justice. The BSP was led by
Mayawati, a Dalit woman who grew up in slums, fielding 139 upper-
caste candidates including 86 Brahmins, alongside 91 Dalit
candidates ('untouchables'). The massive rejection of the BJP
campaign in Uttar Pradesh (a state of 170 million) is very


* the Spirit of God to enlighten more and more eyes to the ugliness
of hate and the negative outcomes of communalism; may he draw
more and more hearts towards peace, progress and religious
liberty, for the sake of his Church, Kingdom and glory.

* our Almighty Sovereign God to protect the lives and families of
his faithful servants in India as they risk violent persecution
to spread the Good News, teach the Scriptures and pastor
fellowships; may he provide their needs and may his peace guard
their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)

* God to powerfully bless every word of Gospel testimony and every
act of Christian grace so that India might be miraculously
transformed by God's Spirit through his Church; may India's
courageous missionaries be blessed to see the fruit of their
labour. (Isaiah 55:10,11)




Persecution of Christians is escalating across India as the Hindu
nationalists propagandise that Indian harmony, culture, identity,
security, sovereignty and territorial integrity are seriously
threatened by missionaries, whom they describe as terrorists,
separatists or CIA operatives. Recently Hindu militants in two
states attacked Christian pastors in front of television cameras.
The TV images then turn the criminals into cult heroes, while
testing every Christian's sense of security. Please pray that the
Holy Spirit will enlighten people to the ugliness of hate and the
negative results of communalism. India may have more unreached
people groups than any other part of the world but God has blessed
her with tens of thousands of courageous indigenous missionaries.
Pray for their safety and their ministry to be powerfully blessed.


1. 'Dharma Raksha Samiti' (Association for Protection of Religion)
Hindutva anti-conversion documentary (English, 16 minutes)

2. Saffron brigade beats up Christians. CNN-IBN, 8 May 2007.

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RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray
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issues, and in particular to uphold the Church
where it is suffering persecution.

RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner
of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.