We’ve detected that you’re using Internet Explorer. Please consider updating to a more modern browser to ensure the best user experience on our website.
Calling Out “Violent[] Attack” of Christians in India to the UN

Calling Out “Violent[] Attack” of Christians in India to the UN


Shaheryar Gill

November 4, 2022

5 min read

Persecuted Church



In a series of submissions to the United Nations Human Rights Council, we have just filed another report and presented an oral intervention on the persecution of Christians in India.

As part of our work at the U.N., we have submitted five reports to the Human Rights Council’s 51st session, detailing human rights conditions in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and China. Due to the high level of persecution in these countries, we file several reports with, and participate in oral interventions before, different bodies at the U.N. throughout the year, documenting instances of persecution.

One country of special concern is India, which is reportedly the tenth worst country for Christian minorities. As we stated in our report to the HRC, “Hindu extremists, often with the authorities’ acquiescence and sometimes active support, violently attack Christians . . . . Much of the violence occurs under the pretext of preventing ‘fraudulent’ or ‘forcible’ religious conversions, which are prohibited by laws enacted by now eleven states in India.”

At this upcoming session, the HRC will have an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. We recently also filed a similar report with the Special Rapporteur on the plight of indigenous people in India. One would wonder about the connection between Indian Christians and the rights of indigenous peoples. Christians in India primarily belong to lower castes and the tribal communities. These groups are indigenous to the land, but have been historically subjugated by the Hindu majority. The discrimination and persecution continues to this day.

When the Indo-Aryans came to the Indian subcontinent around 1400-1000 B.C., they implemented a four-tiered caste based societal hierarchy and subjugated the local Dravidians, keeping them outside the caste system and calling them dasa (slaves) or untouchables (now called Dalits). Some locals (Adivasis) were pushed into the forests and they dwell there to this day. That caste based discrimination, although now outlawed by the Indian government, is very much prevalent in the Hindu society.

Most Christians in the Indian subcontinent are converts from the fourth and the lowest caste of Hinduism and untouchables (who are now called Dalits). Many Dalits and Adivasi (indigenous) tribals continue to come to Christ. In order to stop people from these groups from converting to Christianity or other religions, several states in India have enacted anti-conversion laws. Not only Christians, Dalits, and Adivasis are persecuted under the anti-conversion laws through arrests and false charges of “forced” and “fraudulent” conversions, they are also violently attacked by the Hindu majority.

Our report informed the Council:

Violence against Christians is primarily perpetrated by members of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) paramilitary wing called Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), who adhere to the Hindu nationalist ideology called Hindutva. The Hindutva extremists “aim to cleanse the country of Christian presence and influence.” Law enforcement officials and right-wing Hindu politicians are usually complicit in such actions and persecution is particularly egregious in rural areas.

Detailing some examples of recent violence, our report highlighted the fact that, “[i]n 2021, at least 761 instances of violence against Christians (including converts from Dalit and Adivasi communities) were recorded. In the first five months of 2022 alone, there were 207 reported instances of violence against Christians in several states in India.”

“On July 30, 2022, six Christian women were [attacked by a Hindu mob] and arrested over allegations of forced conversions in Uttar Pradesh. Instead of arresting the Hindu attackers, the police arrested the Christian women and charged them under Uttar Pradesh’s anti-conversion law.”

Also in the state of Uttar Pradesh, in July 2022, several pastors were arrested under charges of forced conversions. “In May 2022, at least thirty Christians were arrested in [the same state] over charges of forced conversions.”

On May 31, 2022, a mob of radical Hindus attacked a pastor’s house, beat him, and then handed him over to the police. Instead of arresting the mob, the police charged the pastor with section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code, which punishes deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.

In addition to violent attacks, Hindu extremists have been enraged over the discovery of a Bible from a non-Christian inmate in the state of Karnataka. “Now, extremist groups are urging for a state-wide ban on Christian missionaries and prison chaplains as they assert chaplains strive to convert prisoners to Christianity.” Our report informed the Council that, “[w]hile it is commonplace for other religious texts to be distributed amongst prisoners, these groups have singled out the Bible for opposition.”

These are just a few examples from over 200 instances of persecution this year. We informed the Council that “Hindu nationalists do not want lower caste Hindus, Dalits, and the tribal people to convert to Christianity, and they are relentlessly targeting innocent citizens who are simply trying to exercise their right to peacefully practice their religion.”

Based on these egregious violations of human rights, we asked the Council to “urge the Indian government to stop encouraging this violence, abolish the anti-conversion laws, and punish the perpetrators who violently attack innocent citizens.”

We also just presented an oral intervention directly before the U.N. Human Rights Council outlining many of these instances of the pervasive persecution of Christians in India.

close player